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Page last updated at 09:54 GMT, Thursday, 5 March 2009

'Line drawn' under F1 spy scandal

Lewis Hamilton in the new McLaren during testing earlier this month

The Formula One spy scandal has reached a conclusion after Italian authorities ended all legal action against McLaren.

Charges against former McLaren chief designer Mike Coughlan and three current senior employees have been dropped but all will have to pay fines.

The row started when then-Ferrari engineer Nigel Stepney was accused in 2007 of giving Coughlan a 780-page document containing confidential data.

Stepney, who Ferrari fired, is the subject of an ongoing case in Italy.

Coughlan, who has in the past also worked for Ferrari, will still have to pay 158,000 in exchange for not contesting charges of copyright infringement.

Engineers Paddy Lowe, Jonathan Neale and Rob Taylor - all still employed by McLaren - will each have to pay 131,500 (150,000 euros).

McLaren were fined 49.2m by F1's governing body the FIA in 2007 after being found in possession of Ferrari data and were also stripped of all their constructors' points.

A McLaren spokesman said: "The proceedings in Italy were merely the officialising of what had been proposed long before, namely the 'nolo contendere' (no contest) agreement.

"A line has finally been drawn under this matter."

Earlier this month, the FIA said it was withdrawing a recommendation that Coughlan and Stepney not be employed in motorsport.

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see also
McLaren and Ferrari end spy row
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F1 inspectors visit McLaren base
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McLaren put spy row behind them
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McLaren admission ends F1 spy row
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McLaren hit with $100m fine
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Ferrari fight back in spying row
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Ferrari fury over McLaren verdict
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McLaren off hook in F1 spying row
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McLaren caught in Ferrari spy row
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