(WASHINGTON, DC) – Former professional cyclist Lance Armstrong agreed to pay the United States $5 million to resolve an outstanding legal battle. The lawsuit alleged that his admitted use of performance-enhancing drugs and methods resulted in the submission of millions of dollars in false claims for sponsorship payments to the US Postal Service.
The USPS sponsored Armstrong’s cycling team during six of the seven years he appeared to have won the Tour de France.
“No one is above the law,” said acting assistant Attorney General Chad 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 with agreements which 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.
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 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 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. After the sponsorship ended, he lied under oath about his PED use in a 2005 arbitration proceeding, he sued the Times of London and one of its sources, a former team masseuse, for libel, and threatened other people with similar lawsuits and other forms of retribution for disclosing their knowledge or suspicions of his doping activities.
The allegations against Armstrong were originally brought in a whistleblower complaint filed in June 2010 by Floyd Landis, a former teammate of Armstrong, who admitted that he, too, had participated in PED use as member of the USPS-sponsored team.