[QODLink]
Americas

US sues cyclist Armstrong over sponsor money

US government sues disgraced cyclist for defrauding the Postal Service by taking millions in sponsorship money.

Last Modified: 24 Apr 2013 16:05
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Lance Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles in 2012 [Reuters]

The US government has filed court documents laying out its case against cyclist Lance Armstrong, who is accused of defrauding the Postal Service by taking millions of dollars in sponsorship money while flouting professional cycling rules by doping.

The US Department of Justice said in February it would join a whistleblower lawsuit brought in 2010 by Armstrong's former teammate, Floyd Landis, and on Tuesday filed its formal complaint.

Armstrong has been stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and was banned for life from cycling in 2012 after accusations he had cheated for years. In January, he said the accusations were true in an interview with television host Oprah Winfrey.

Armstrong and his teammates from Tailwind Sports were paid $40 million by the Postal Service from 1998 to 2004, according to the suit.

Armstrong's salary during that time, excluding bonuses, was $17.9 million, according to the complaint.

The government is suing under the False Claims Act and can recoup up to three times the amount it lost as a result of the fraud. The complaint also alleges breach of contract, unjust enrichment and fraud.

'Not the victim'

An attorney for Armstrong said the complaint was opportunistic and insincere.

"The US Postal Service benefited tremendously from its sponsorship of the cycling team. The USPS was never the victim of fraud," said attorney Elliot Peters in a statement.

"Lance Armstrong rode his heart out for the USPS team, and gave the brand tremendous exposure during the sponsorship years."

The complaint echoes Landis' claims that Armstrong and others defrauded the US government by falsely denying the doping accusations and continuing their sponsorship relationship with the Postal Service.

When the government believes a suit has merit, it may take over the litigation. The individuals, or whistleblowers, get a portion of the proceeds if the case is successful.

The US complaint accuses Armstrong of using at least one prohibited substance or method in connection with every Tour de France between 1999 and 2005.

329

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Nearly half of Canadians have suffered inappropriate advances on the job - and the political arena is no exception.
Featured
Women's rights activists are demanding change after Hanna Lalango, 16, was gang-raped on a bus and left for dead.
Buried in Sweden's northern forest, Sorsele has welcomed many unaccompanied kids who help stabilise a town exodus.
A look at the changing face of North Korea, three years after the death of 'Dear Leader'.
While some fear a Muslim backlash after café killings, solidarity instead appears to be the order of the day.
Victims spared by the deadly disease are reporting blindness and other unexpected post-Ebola health issues.