America's Cup 2021: Team NZ hit back at Government claims of Serious Fraud investigation

An ugly spat between Team NZ and the Government department providing $40m for the America's Cup has gone public.

The team has issued a public condemnation of the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment, insisting defamatory and baseless allegations must be called out.

The 'Auld Mug' has a long history of controversy, but this is taking things to the next level, with Team NZ absolutely furious, after a report that the Serious Fraud Office is investigating them, with the help of MBIE, which has contributed $40m of taxpayers' money to put on the event.

The relationship is now at breaking point, after two whistleblowers inside Team NZ began leaking secret recordings and confidential documents to MBIE earlier this year.

The fallout has peaked, with Team NZ chairman Sir Stephen Tindall saying they have no choice but to condemn MBIE for its part in all of this.

"It's hugely damaging to have an insinuation that you're being investigated by the Serious Fraud Office," says Sir Stephen.

"This is definitely not us throwing our toys - this is us trying to explain that there is no Serious Fraud Office investigation. We've heard nothing,"

MBIE has hit back, saying they've treated everyone with due respect and strongly refuting many of the issues raised by Team NZ.

The two parties should be working together to deliver what should be a world class event, but behind the scenes at least, things are looking chaotic.