The Department of Justice has announced:
Former professional cyclist Lance Armstrong agreed to pay the United States $5 million to resolve a lawsuit alleging that his admitted use of performance-enhancing drugs and methods (“PEDs”) resulted in the submission of millions of dollars in false claims for sponsorship payments to the U.S. Postal Service (“USPS”), which sponsored Armstrong’s cycling team during six of the seven years Armstrong appeared to have won the Tour de France, the Department of Justice announced today.
“No one is above the law,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Division Chad A. Readler. “A competitor who intentionally uses illegal PEDs not only deceives fellow competitors and fans, but also sponsors, who help make sporting competitions possible. This settlement demonstrates that those who cheat the government will be held accountable.”
From 1996 through 2004, the USPS sponsored a professional cycling team. The sponsorship agreements required the team to follow the rules of cycling’s governing bodies, including the rules prohibiting the use of certain performance enhancing substances and methods. Between 1999 and 2004, Lance Armstrong was the lead rider on the team, and he appeared to win cycling’s most prestigious event, the Tour de France, six consecutive times.
“This settlement resolves allegations that Lance Armstrong violated the terms of his team’s sponsorship by the U.S. Postal Service,” said U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Jessie K. Liu. “We will continue to work with our federal partners to protect taxpayer dollars and to ensure that those who do business with the federal government fulfill their contractual obligations.”
The United States’ lawsuit against Armstrong alleged that Armstrong and his team regularly and systematically employed PEDs, in violation of the USPS sponsorship agreements. The lawsuit further alleged that Armstrong made numerous false statements, directly and through team managers and spokesmen, to USPS management and to the public denying his PED use to induce the USPS to renew its sponsorship of the team in late 2000, and to increase the sponsorship fees (and, by extension, Armstrong’s own salary) in light of Armstrong’s apparent Tour de France victories in 1999 and 2000. In addition, the lawsuit alleged that Armstrong took active measures to conceal his PED use during the USPS sponsorship, and even after the sponsorship ended, including lying under oath about his PED use in a 2005 arbitration proceeding involving his entitlement to a bonus for the 2004 Tour de France result; suing the Times of London and one of its sources – a former team masseuse – for libel; and threatening other people with similar lawsuits and other forms of retribution for disclosing their knowledge or suspicions of his doping activities…