Armstrong to be sued by US Justice after doping confession
The US Justice Department has said it will sue former cycling champion Lance Armstrong in order to regain sponsorship money he took from the US Postal Service (USPS), following a confession that he used performance-enhancing drugs.
Mr Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned from competitive cycling in 2012, following allegations that he had been cheating with drug use for years.
In a television interview with Oprah Winfrey in January, Mr Armstrong admitted the allegations were true.
The Justice Department says it will now sue Mr Armstrong, his manager Johan Bruyneel, and holding company Tailwind Sports, to make up for $30 million in sponsorship money given to him by the USPS.
A spokesman for the Justice Department said Mr Armstrong had broken the rules of the sponsorship contract which required him to adhere to the rules banning the use of performance-enhancing drugs.
“This lawsuit is designed to help the Postal Service recoup the tens of millions of dollars it paid out to the Tailwind cycling team based on years of broken promises,” said Ronald Machen, the US attorney for Washington DC.
However, Robert Luskin, Mr Armstrong’s lawyer, argued that the USPS had benefited so greatly from the sponsorship deal during his client’s heyday that it was unfair to ask for the money back.
He argued that the USPS had “benefited tremendously from its sponsorship,” with “benefits totalling more than $100 million.”
Mr Machen contends that there is unmeasured damage to the USPS through being “unfairly associated” with the high-profile scandal.
A source from Mr Armstrong’s legal team said that he would fight the lawsuit on the grounds that the sponsorship deal, which ended in 2004, is outside the statute of limitations on recovery.