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Wednesday, July 4, 2007

McLaren suspends high-ranking employee

McLaren-Mercedes said on Tuesday they have suspended a high-ranking technical employee accused by Ferrari of spying on the Italian constructor.

"McLaren became aware on the 3rd July 2007 that a senior member of its technical organisation was the subject of a Ferrari investigation regarding the receipt of technical information," said a statement on the team's website.

"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 it will fully co-operate with any investigation. The individual has in the meanwhile been suspended by the company pending a full and proper investigation of the matter."

Ferrari confirmed to AFP on Tuesday that it has sacked a member of its technical staff, Nigel Stepney, who it accused of attempting to sabotage its cars.

Ferrari also said they have presented a case against Stepney and a McLaren engineer to the court in Modena, concerning the theft of technical information.

At the end of April a judge in Modena found two ex-Ferrari employees guilty of industrial espionage.

Mauro Iacconi and Angelo Santini had passed on information to Japanese outfit Toyota, although they fired the pair before the matter became public.

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