Alinghi deny MP's allegation on threats


AUCKLAND: America's Cup challengers Alinghi yesterday rejected as unfounded and damaging a claim made in New Zealand's parliament that threatening letters sent to their crew members had come from within the Swiss team. 

Police said in December they were investigating two letters which made threats against the families of some of the former Team New Zealand sailors who joined Alinghi, who now lead Team New Zealand 3-0 in the current America's Cup. The fourth race, postponed five times since last Tuesday, is scheduled for today. 

The letters came from a group calling itself “Teach the Traitors a Lesson”. 

Populist MP Winston Peters asked in the New Zealand parliament in Wellington on Tuesday whether the letters had come from within the Alinghi camp, an allegation which police said in January they had heard and investigated. 

Alinghi executive director Michel Bonnefous accused Peters of recycling rumours. 

“Mr Peters' claim appears to be based on an anonymous rumour. It is disappointing that he is spreading unfounded and damaging claims.” 

Bonnefous said police had told the team there was no evidence to support the rumour. Inspector Mark Hall, head of police operations for the America's Cup, reiterated police had been investigating whether the letters had come from within Alinghi. – Reuters  

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