WELLINGTON (Reuters) – Group New Zealand have blamed “informants” for spreading out “extremely defamatory and inaccurate” accusations about the body arranging their America’s Cup defence, activating federal government questions over “monetary and structural matters”.

FILE PICTURE: Sailing – America’s Cup finals – Hamilton, Bermuda – June 26, 2017 – Emirates Team New Zealand commemorates with the America’s Cup trophy in 2017 after defeating Oracle Group USA. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Picture

The team, who will safeguard the 169- year-old cruising trophy in Auckland next year, said suspicions that there were “informants” in the America’s Cup Event (ACE) organisation were validated when dripped information returned to them from Europe.

” The motives of the informants who had access to the Team New Zealand base can just be guessed at,” checked out a team declaration.

” In addition, these people have made extremely defamatory and incorrect claims … These allegations are totally incorrect. As a result, the agreement of the informants has actually been terminated.”

ACE is a subsidiary of Group New Zealand formed to run the America’s Cup.

The Ministry of Company, Innovation and Work (MBIE), the New Zealand government firm accountable for the America’s Cup, confirmed they had actually been warned of the claims.

” This consists of claims around structural and financial matters,” said Iain Cossar, General Supervisor Tourism at MBIE.” The claims made need cautious and thorough factor to consider. We are dealing with ACE and Group New Zealand in relation to the claims made.”

Group New Zealand stated they wanted to “close out the remaining problems” with the MBIE as rapidly as possible.

” MBIE have no choice but to investigate despite our belief that the intentions of the informants are incredibly suspect,” the declaration added.

Allegations of spying and subterfuge are not new in the high tech world of America’s Cup racing.

In 2013, then holders Oracle were fined and had their testing time lowered by five days as a charge for spying on rivals Luna Rossa in New Zealand’s Hauraki Gulf.

The 36 th America’s Cup will start in January with a regatta in between 4 challengers from Italy, Britain and the United States. The winner then deals with Team New Zealand for the America’s Cup next March.

($ 1 = 1.5579 New Zealand dollars)

Writing by Nick Mulvenney in Sydney; Modifying by Himani Sarkar

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