McLaren employee suspected of espionage
|By Jonathan Noble||Tuesday, July 3rd 2007, 16:18 GMT|
McLaren have suspended a senior member of their staff amid suspicions that he unlawfully obtained technical information belonging to rivals Ferrari.
With former Ferrari engineer Nigel Stepney currently at the centre of a legal enquiry about sabotage of Ferrari's cars prior to the Monaco Grand Prix, there had also been talk of a possible espionage investigation.
That scenario was confirmed on Tuesday when McLaren issued a statement revealing that a member of their staff is now being investigated by Ferrari as possibly obtaining technical secrets from a Ferrari employee.
It has not been clarified yet, however, whether or not this affair relates specifically to Stepney.
McLaren have said they will cooperate with the investigation and have suspended their unidentified member of staff while that process is ongoing.
"McLaren became aware on [today] that a senior member of its technical organisation was the subject of a Ferrari investigation regarding the receipt of technical information.
"The team has learnt that this individual had personally received a package of technical information from a Ferrari employee at the end of April.
"Whilst McLaren has no involvement in the matter and condemns such actions, we will fully cooperate with any investigation.
"The individual has, in the meanwhile, been suspended by the company pending a full and proper investigation of the matter.
"No further comment will be made."
Stepney has maintained his innocence of all charges, and has vowed to prove his innocence when he returns from a mid-season holiday later this week.
Ferrari confirmed this morning that they had dismissed Stepney following an internal investigation.