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America's Cup Spying: Larry Ellison's Team Oracle USA Convicted, Fined, Suspended

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The America's Cup is known for some risky behavior: high-speed crashes, capsized catamarans, boats floating into the bay unmanned at night. And now you can add espionage to the list.

According to the San Francisco Business Times, an international jury has found Oracle Team USA, the America's Cup champion team owned by Larry Ellison, guilty of spying on Luna Rossa, the Italian rival team.

The team was fined $15,200, forced to hand over ten photos of the Italian team's boat and will be suspended from five days of practice as the race approaches.

According to sailing blog Sail World, both the Italian team and another rival, New Zealand's Emirates Team, sought a substantially harsher penalty for Oracle, but the jury denied the request.

Though prohibited, the practice of spying is apparently not unusual. According to the San Jose Mercury News, spying is "a practice as old as the 161-year-old America's Cup trophy."

"It's part of the nature of this competition," America's Cup historian Dyer Jones to the San Jose Mercury News. "You get in the other guy's head."

Spies have reportedly been spotted frequently in both the Hauraki Gulf, where the Italian and New Zealand teams are training, and in the San Francisco Bay, where Oracle and the Swedish team have been practicing.

"All is fair in love and war," said Tim Jeffery, an America's Cup Event Authority spokesman to the San Jose Mercury News. "That's what it boils down to."

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Filed by Robin Wilkey