Stepney denies

Nigel Stepney has responded to an FIA recommendation that licence holders "do not professionally collaborate with Mr. Stepney without conducting appropriate due diligence regarding his suitability for involvement in international motor sport" until July 1, 2009. Stepney denies the FIA claim that he had admitted handing over data to McLaren's Mike Coughlan and had apologised to the FIA.

Stepney's solicitors Coyle White Devine issued a statement to say that the FIA "may want to do some due diligence themselves before simply accepting one side of the story.

Stepney admits that "a former McLaren engineer and friend of 20 years" - Mike Coughlan - had obtained very limited information as a result of what he described as his carelessness. But he added that it was not the 780-page dossier the FIA saw, which he says he has just been shown for the first time by the Italian police. Stepney is under investigation in Italy for suspected industrial espionage.

Coyle White Devine, said that "it should be noted that Mr Stepney has never admitted any dishonest intention. The FIA is fully aware of that. Our client blew the whistle on certain matters to FIA officials; that is not in any contention. The Italian authorities were made aware of this last month; they, too, accept his position."

Stepney is currently writing a book which is due to be published later this year.

In previous statements Coyle White Devine has said that Stepney has had to "endure months of unfounded allegations" but remained silent in the hope of being able to explain his activities at an FIA disciplinary hearing. This had been scheduled for Thursday, February 7, but was called off because the FIA legal team had problems with flights in Geneva. The statement said that Stepney was looking forward to the opportunity to put his side of the story in a legal environment."

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