Alinghi Accuses Oracle of America’s Cup Espionage

Posted: May 13, 2009 in America's Cup, boat, boating, boats, sailboat race, sailing, sailing race, yacht, yacht race, yachting, yachts
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The America’s Cup legal battle took a new twist this week when defender Alinghi accused US rival Oracle of hiring spies to get information on its sailboat under construction in Switzerland. In papers filed at a New York court, Alinghi said Swiss authorities last month detained a man who “admitted he was one of a team of spies hired by (Oracle) to illegally break into facilities and take photographs and secure information” about its boat.

Americas Cup

America's Cup

It said the man, Jean Antoine Bonnaveau, a French citizen, had been hired by Oracle in December 2007 to spy on its competitors for a salary of 10,000 euros a month.

The allegation was made in papers filed in connection with a motion by Oracle asking the court to confirm that the next America’s Cup will take place in early February 2010.

Alinghi, in contrast, wants the next America’s Cup to be held three months later in May 2010. It described Oracle’s motion as a “cheap publicity stunt.”

The New York State Supreme Court is to hear the case on Thursday.

In response to Alinghi’s spying allegations, Oracle said the Swiss team is “making trumped-up allegations that have nothing to do with the matter at hand.”

“Legal observation of competitors is common practice in the America?s Cup and other major sporting events,” it said in a statement.

It said Alinghi ‘spies’ were photographed several times by Oracle near its base and on the water in both Anacortes, Washington and in San Diego, California.

The two sides have been locked in a legal battle over the rules of the next America’s Cup since Alinghi won the 32nd edition of yachting’s premier event in the Spanish port of Valencia in July 2007.

The New York court in early April backed Oracle over Alinghi in the conclusion to their legal battle over the rules for the next edition of the America’s Cup.

The ruling means that the two teams must hold a best-of-three duel involving multihull yachts – unless they manage to overcome their dispute.

Oracle, owned by American software tycoon Larry Ellison, has already been training for a duel since October on a giant trimaran built in the United States while Alinghi, owned by Swiss pharmaceuticals billionaire Ernesto Bertarelli, began a training programme late last month.

More: Sailing News

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