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Alinghi accuses rival of spying

A YACHTING team funded by software executive Larry Ellison hired investigators to spy on its America's Cup racing rival, according to court papers filed on Tuesday as a long-running legal dispute heads back to court.

Ellison's BMW-Oracle team and America's Cup defending champion Alinghi, backed by biotechnology billionaire Ernesto Bertarelli, have been locked in a legal dispute for two years over the 33rd running of the race.

BMW-Oracle, sponsored by the Golden Gate Yacht Club (GGYC), and Swiss team Alinghi, which sails under the colors of Societe Nautique de Geneve (SNG), are due to appear in court again today after talks broke down.

According to court papers filed by Alinghi on Tuesday, the Golden Gate Yacht Club sent a "team of spies" to illegally break into SNG's facilities and take photographs.

"GGYC's unclean hands further manifested itself in the fact that it hired a team of agents to illegally spy on and try to secure information about the defense boat being designed and constructed by SNG," the papers said.

In a statement, a spokesman for GGYC dismissed the claims as "trumped-up allegations that have nothing to do with the matter at hand."

The America's Cup race was originally scheduled for this year.


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