Team NZ boss Grant Dalton has admitted that the organisation had been defrauded by scammers, with money being paid into an incorrect Hungarian bank account.
A report by the New Zealand Herald on Tuesday claimed that . . .
Team New Zealand and America’s Cup organisers are at the centre of an inquiry commissioned by the Crown over the spending of public money, including allegations of a “reclassified” NZ$3 million loan and claims of fraud involving a Hungarian bank account.
Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford’s office confirmed to the Herald on Tuesday evening that the minister was aware of fraud allegations.
Team CEO Grant Dalton now says that he approved an invoice for a large contractor in Europe . . . and he did not check the noughts and the ones on the bank account.
It was the correct invoice as per the contract and the money was sent to Hungary.
It now appears that the money was scammed to an incorrect bank account . . .
Dalton . . . “Is that fraud? Yes, it is insomuch we were basically defrauded. There was fraud insomuch that we were defrauded to an incorrect bank account. We haven’t got all of the money back, we have got some of the money back.”
A letter written by council chief executive Stephen Town and Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) chief executive Carolyn Tremain says they are:
“extremely concerned” about how taxpayer money paid by MBIE has been used.
The council and the Government have to date put NZ$250m into hosting the 36th America’s Cup.
Earlier on Monday night, Team NZ issued a press statement, saying that the informant claims were baseless.
These recent disclosures are now revealing a much more complex situation, with it appears, at the very least, some very slack control procedures for the public monies involved.
The Crown has appointed financial investigators Beattie Varley to verify that ACE and ETNZ have complied with their respective obligations.
America’s Cup Events Ltd (ACE) is a subsidiary of Team New Zealand, set up in 2018 to run the on-water racing, cup village, security and broadcasting for the 36th Americ’s Cup.