Auckland Police have been informed of threats being made against the families of some Alinghi New Zealand crew members.

Executive Director of Team Alinghi, Michel Bonnefous, today confirmed that Team Alinghi has made a complaint to New Zealand Police about threats against the children and family members of Team personnel

Mr Bonnefous said that letters sent to the syndicate from what purported to be a group of patriotic activists had spelled out a clear intention to target the children and family of sailors. The letters identified team members who have young children. The letters warned that the group would damage team members’ property and inflict violence on their families. They said they had tracked the movements of children and other family members, and gave personal details about one crew member.

Mr Bonnefous said the Team’s security advisers and the Police took the threats very seriously, and as a result no further specific details can be given at this stage.

He said the Team were now confirming the threats with the full agreement and support of the Police.

“I am horrified by the tone in these letters, as I am sure most New Zealanders will be, “Mr Bonnefous said. As a team we are committed to winning on the water and we look forward to the next round of sailing, but we will be cooperating fully with Police to track down and bring the perpetrators to justice.” The Police had asked that the personnel cited in the letters not be named.

Mr Bonnefous said Team Alinghi urged anyone who might have information on the source of these threats to immediately contact their nearest Police station.

He said: “Alinghi is an international team. We are open and want to share our passion for sailing. We want the focus to return to sport and to the action on the water. We came here, in New Zealand, to sail, not to have our children threatened.”