Nigel Stepney denies giving Coughlan documents 

Written by David on July 08th, 2007 at 8:02 amLast Update: July 08th, 2007 at 8:16 am

Nigel Stepney denies giving Coughlan documentsNigel Stepney has publicly denied any wrongdoing in the espionage affair that has revolved around him, rejecting accusations that he had transferred secret Ferrari documents to McLaren’s chief designer Mike Coughlan. Stepney has been under criminal investigation in Italy following action taken by Ferrari, who accused the Briton of stealing information from the team’s Maranello factory and transferring it to other Formula One teams.

McLaren have suspended Coughlan earlier this week after a house search allegedly unravelled hundreds of documents belonging to Ferrari, while the Italian dismissed Stepney when he was on vacation in the Philippines. Stepney returned to Italy on Wednesday to face the criminal charges against him, but he has since left the country to an unknown location, claiming he was in danger while there.

“There have been high-speed car chases,” Stepney told the British Sunday newspapers. “We’ve been followed by more than one car, with Italian plates, and when we cornered one of them last Thursday evening the men in it refused to speak. I don’t believe they were journalists. [Girlfriend] Ash has been stalked at the house. There was tracking gear on my car. Someone was going to get hurt. I had no option but to get out of Italy.”

Nigel Stepney with his ex Team (Ferrari)

Stepney was also adamant that he had done nothing wrong, specifically denying the claims that he had transferred to Coughlan hundreds of confidential pages from the Ferrari factory.

“I categorically deny that I copied them [the documents], or that I sent them to Mike Coughlan,” Stepney told the newspaper. “I knew I was being watched all the time at the factory and that everything I did or said was being reported back and that people knew whenever I accessed files on the computer. I have no idea how anything came into Mike’s possession. If he has some documents, they came from another source.”

Stepney also said he was a victim of Ferrari’s internal politics, saying his trouble began when he told the team management he was unhappy with his job. “Ferrari took that badly,” Stepney said. “I began to feel like I was some sort of traitor. As soon as I went against the system at Ferrari, I got squeezed.”I’m anxious, naturally, but I haven’t done anything wrong.”

Source: autosport

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