OneWorld Challenge has agreed to allow Sean Reeves to testify at the special hearing of the America's Cup Arbitration Panel being convened in Auckland this weekend, despite a restraining order from the US courts.
Syndicate spokesman Bob Ratliffe confirmed today that an undertaking had been given that Reeves could participate at the Panel hearings without fear of being pursued in the courts by OneWorld Challenge.
OneWorld made the undertaking to lawyers acting for Prada and Team Dennis Conner, which have jointly initiated the action before the Arbitration Panel.
"In fact, we want Reeves to testify at the hearing," Ratliffe said today. "We want to give him the freedom for those two days to answer questions and give testimony, but obviously that has to be within the proper scope of the enquiry."
According to a New Zealand Press Association report, Reeves today said he would give evidence at the hearing if required, but had so far not been asked. He told the news agency he was relieved to see OneWorld had signed an undertaking, saying they would not take any action against him if he appeared before the Panel.
Reeves, a former Team New Zealand rules adviser, was instrumental in recruiting personnel and helping set up OneWorld Challenge after the 2000 America's Cup.
As part of their on-going legal battles, OneWorld has had a permanent injunction issued in the US courts preventing Reeves from breaching confidentiality agreements that were entered into when he worked for the syndicate.
The special hearing of the Arbitration Panel arises out of a joint application by Prada and Team Dennis Conner alleging contraventions of the America's Cup protocol. The allegations rely heavily on affidavits prepared by Reeves.
Prada and Team Dennis Conner are seeking a ruling from the Panel that OneWorld Challenge is not eligible to be the Challenger for the America's Cup match in February, should the team win the Louis Vuitton Cup.
The specific charges are distilled into five points, four of which claim OneWorld had and used design information from Team New Zealand and one of which relates to information from Prada Challenge.
OneWorld Challenge rejects all the allegations and says the Louis Vuitton Cup and America's Cup competitions should be returned to the sailors on the water. OneWorld has filed counter affidavits from 14 members of the team. Among those who have prepared affidavits are OneWorld's founder, telecommunications billionaire Craig McCaw.
Designers Laurie Davidson, who worked for Team New Zealand in 1995 and 2000, Bruce Nelson, formerly with AmericaOne and Phil Kaiko, formerly with America True, have also made affidavits, as have skipper Peter Gilmour, syndicate head Gary Wright and former Team New Zealand sailor Jeremy Scantlebury.
The hearing has been set down for Saturday and Sunday. Racing in the Louis Vuitton is set to resume on Monday with OneWorld set to meet Prada and Alinghi set to meet Oracle BMW Racing in the semi-finals.