Motorsport chief Mosley accuses McLaren of lying in spying row

SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS, Belgium (AFP) — FIA president Max Mosley has accused McLaren chief Ron Dennis of looking him in the eye and lying during the Formula One spying investigation.

In a television interview Mosley explained the sequence of events that led to the emergence of critical email evidence; evidence that would lead to McLaren's record 100 million dollar fine and exclusion from the constructors' championship.

Dennis confirmed on Saturday that Spanish world champion Fernando Alonso had approached him at the Hungarian Grand Prix threatening to leak damaging emails between himself and test driver Pedro de la Rosa.

Mosley told ITV his version of events: "On the morning of the Hungarian Grand Prix, Ron rang me and he said, 'I've just had Alonso in the motorhome and he says he's got information and he's threatening to give it to the Federation.'

"So I said, 'What did you say Ron?' He said, 'I said, go on and hand it over.'

"I said, 'Ron, you said exactly the right thing.'

"And then Ron said, 'But there isn't any information.'

"So I said, 'So it's an empty threat?'

"And he replied: 'Yes, a completely empty threat. There's no information, there's nothing to come out; I can assure you that if there was something, Max, I would have told you.'

"Now this was a week after looking me in the eye in the World Council and telling me there was absolutely nothing wrong and everybody had done exactly as they should do, so I believed him.

"I've known Ron for 40 years; it's very difficult for me, when somebody I've known for 40 years looks me in the eye and says, 'Max, I'm telling the truth with complete sincerity' - you believe him.

"It was only when I got the list from the Italian police (showing) 323 SMS phone calls going over a three-month period between Coughlan and Stepney, (that I concluded) there had to be more to this.

"You don't get 300 messages arranging a visit to Honda. This is something serious. At which point, I sat down and wrote the letter to the drivers (asking for their evidence), and the rest is history."

Dennis responded to Mosley on the same show, insisting that he has acted with total integrity throughout the whole affair.

"I don't want to get into the detail, but I do want to address one thing, and that is that when someone asks me a question - and I've answered some difficult questions - at the time I made those answers I told the complete truth," Dennis said.

"At the point of the first hearing, when I was asked the question did I know anything more, the truth was, I didn't.

"The emails that passed between our drivers were as big a surprise to me when I heard, as anyone else - and as I said, if they existed, what I said to Fernando was that he must give them to the FIA.

"I just want to be very clear that at no stage did I ever say any lie to anybody.

"I put my integrity above everything. I just want to be very clear about that particular point."