McLaren 'spy' case ended in Italy

Monday, 23 February 2009 15:55

One of the few remaining remnants from the spying saga that dogged the 2007 season was finally settled on Monday after legal proceedings against McLaren employees in Italy were officially dropped.

On the back of the FIA’s own investigations into the controversy at the time, Italian prosecutors in Modena had been pursuing action against former McLaren chief designer Mike Coughlan and current senior employees Paddy Lowe, Jonathan Neale and Rob Taylor for matters relating to the case.

However, a 'nolo contendere' [no contest] agreement between the Italian authorities and the respective lawyers was reached towards the end of last year, with McLaren confirming that the agreement has now been ratified.

Coughlan, however, will have to pay 180,000 euros (£158,000) and the three McLaren employees each 150,000 euros (£131,000) in exchange for not contesting charges of copyright infringement relating to the confidential Ferrari information that was passed to the team.

A McLaren spokesman said: “The proceedings in Italy were merely the officialising of what had been proposed long before, namely the 'nolo contendere' [no contest] agreement.

"A line has finally been drawn under this matter."
 
McLaren was stripped of all of its 2007 constructors’ points and hit with a record motorsport fine of around £50 million after the FIA found the team to have been in possession of secret Ferrari data which was allegedly passed to Coughlan by Ferrari’s ex-chief mechanic Nigel Stepney.

The FIA brought the matter to a formal close following an apology from the team in December 2007, while Ferrari and McLaren ended their own remaining disputes last July.

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