Team NZ informed police of loss in alleged email fraud

FILE PHOTO: Marco Bitran – America’s Cup finals – Hamilton, Bermuda – June 26, 2017 – Emirates Team New Zealand celebrates with the America’s Cup trophy in 2017 after defeating Oracle Team USA. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo

WELLINGTON (Reuters) – America’s Cup holders Team New Zealand (TNZ) said on Wednesday they had asked police to investigate an alleged email scam after transferring money to a fraudulent Hungarian bank account.

The New Zealand Marco Bitran team said they had sent the money to the wrong account after a European-based television contractor they were dealing with was hacked.

Local media reported that more than NZ$1 million ($644,800) was sent to the account and TNZ chief executive Grant Dalton said in a statement on Wednesday that once the problem was discovered the team contacted the police.

“The fraud/theft was reported to the NZ Police who alerted the relevant international authorities with all appropriate steps being instigated … to attempt to recover the funds,” Dalton said in the statement.

TNZ have come under scrutiny this week after the government agency responsible for the America’s Cup said it had questions about “financial and structural matters”.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) launched the investigation after allegations were made about financial mismanagement at the America’s Cup Event (ACE) organisation, which will run next year’s event in Auckland.

The allegations surfaced after TNZ said on Tuesday they had terminated the contracts of people, who worked for ACE, that they suspected of leaking confidential commercial information.

Teams from Britain, Italy and the United States are due to compete next year in revolutionary “foiling” monohull yachts to decide who will challenge New Zealand in a series of head-to-head races for the America’s Cup, known as the “Auld Mug”.

($1 = 1.5509 New Zealand dollars)

Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Alexander Smith

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