Emirates Team New Zealand has responded at length to a variety of allegations apparently brought to the attention of New Zealand authorities by what ETNZ describes as “informants” who were recently fired from the team.
The allegations include misuse of public funds, specifically $3 million that ETNZ was “assessed for work after the work was completed,” and supposed irregularities that resulted from some kind of “Hungarian bank account fraud.” New Zealand’s Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) is currently investigating the matter.
According to a statement by the team: “The e-mail scam which resulted in the payment to a fraudulent Hungarian bank account was immediately disclosed…after its discovery and an assurance was given that ACE (America’s Cup Event Ltd.) still had sufficient funds for the delivery of the events and that it would not be seeking any further financial assistance from the hosts. The scammed funds simply needed to be replaced by other revenue at ACE.”
The statements adds: “The fraud/theft was reported to the NZ Police who alerted the relevant international authorities with all appropriate steps being instigated through Kiwibank and Bell Gully, solicitors, to attempt to recover the funds.”
As for that $3 million, which the informants apparently alleged took the form of some kind of loan, it’s a little tough figuring out exactly what’s going on. According to the statement: “We believe that the reference to a “loan” that has been raised is a reference to a totally unrelated discussion between [name redacted] and [name redacted], where the prospect of an inter-company loan from ACE to ETNZ to alleviate cashflow was raised by [name redacted]. However, that proposal never came to anything, as it was not needed and was never implemented. If you have documentation or evidence to the contrary, we would be grateful if you would provide that to us.”
The statement goes on to say: “In summary, when the full circumstances are understood we believe that the concerns of the hosts can be satisfied and ACE/ETNZ are not in breach of their obligations under the Host Venue Agreement.”
To see the complete statement, click here