America's Cup: Investigation in New Zealand on public funds

Investigation in New Zealand on public funds at the Cup: TNZ defends itself

by Lorenzo Ciotti
America's Cup: Investigation in New Zealand on public funds

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment is examining requests for no-show by Team New Zeland, the America's Cup defender and counter-declarations of the team's espionage by America's contractors Cup. The government is spending $ 136.5 million kiwis - including a $ 40 million welcome fee - to host the 36th America's Cup (December 2020-March 2021), but economic development minister Phil Twyford said these disbursements were not frozen while the MBIE review was ongoing.

"We haven't considered it yet," he told reporters this afternoon. "I am happy to receive advice from MBIE on this matter. At the moment, their priority is to find out exactly what is going on so that they can return to organizing the America's Cup during the summer." He said the money had been set aside to be spent between now and the event, but he didn't know how much had already been spent.

Asked if it was in his interest to know how much had yet to be spent, he said: "I will have clarifications on this." He admitted that tens of millions of taxpayers could be "theoretically" spent while a review was conducted to see if public money was being misused.

“Accusations have been made. There is a dispute between the parties. The job of the MBIE is to go all the way and understand what the truth is, and then we will take action, "said Twyford. The Auckland City Council also pledged $ 113 million for the event.

All the problems which leads to the investigation

Team NZ and America’s Cup organizers are at the center of a commissioned investigation, including allegations of a $ 3 million "reclassified" loan and fraud requests involving a Hungarian bank account.

A letter dated 22 June from the MBIE and the Auckland City Council, obtained from the Herald, outlines the allegations relating to the management of public money, the concerns for public safety and the concerns that the organizers of the event, the events of the America's Cup (ACE) and Team NZ are violating obligations.

Team NZ denied any inadequacy and claimed that public money was not misused. "Emirates Team NZ and ACE categorically deny any wrongdoing and believe they have already addressed the concerns of the MBIE and the [Auckland] Council and their adviser Beattie Varley," Team NZ said today.

Team NZ confirmed that the organization had been defrauded by scammers and sent money to Hungary. Dalton told Stuff that a European hacker had obtained access to material belonging to a television contractor based in Europe, including the details of the contracts and when payments had to be made.

Team NZ received an email that he believed came from the contractor about a new Hungarian bank account on which he had to make the payment. A seven-digit sum was subsequently paid into the account and the alarm was raised only weeks later when the contractor asked for the missing money.

Dalton said the hacker had changed a character in the contractor's email address when he contacted them about the new account. Police were now involved in New Zealand and Europe, but only part of the money has been recovered. Police confirmed to investigate with the help of officials based in Europe and Hungarian authorities.