America’s Cup holders Emirates Team New Zealand (ETNZ) have been cleared of any financial impropriety following an independent audit by Beattie Varley Ltd.
The Beattie Varley report found that there was no evidence of financial impropriety or misappropriation of funds.
The report also found:
- there was no loan from America’s Cup Events Ltd (ACE) to ETNZ,
- there was no fraud by ACE or ETNZ,
- that no personal expenses of Grant Dalton or any other personnel were paid from Crown monies,
- that there has been no financial impropriety of any nature.
Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) Chief Executive Carolyn Tremain said:
“While it’s excellent to confirm that there has been no financial impropriety and the escalation process has concluded, the Beattie Varley report had raised some concerns around record keeping relating to several historical matters.”
The Parties have agreed to go to mediation on a dispute over whether certain costs of the event should be paid from public funds.
Carolyn Tremain added, “The Crown is satisfied to reinstate investment and once the appropriate contractual deliverables have been met, the next payment under the HVA (Host Venue Agreement) can be made.”
Background to Audit into allegations:
The process began after MBIE and Auckland Council (as Hosts) were made aware of claims relating to the organisation of the 36th America’s Cup.
These prompted an investigation by forensic accountants Beattie Varley Ltd and triggered an escalation process under the Host Venue Agreement.
In their Interim Report of 20 June Beattie Varley indicated that ACE had written to them stating that . . . ‘it had provided considerable information and was returning to its full programme’.
On 6 July ETNZ and ACE went to the High Court in Auckland to prevent the Interim Report being made public and received a temporary injunction preventing publication by the media.
On 9 July the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) confirmed they had suspended public funding.
Beattie Varley reports that beginning on 9 July, ACE provided additional information.
In their Final Report of 20 August, Beattie Varley commented that . . .
Subsequently ACE acknowledged that its approach to the provision of information had been unhelpful and that more fulsome disclosure would have helped to address the concerns we had raised.
Had we rerceived this information in April or May, we would not have needed to raise many of the issues disclosed in the Interim Report.
Beattie Varley has also noted ETNZ’s failure to maintain a system allowing objective verification of time-charged as required by clause 24.3 of the Host Venue Agreement, and refered the matter back to MBIE for consideration.