Judgement made against Landis in Swiss UCI defamation case
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Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Judgement made against Landis in Swiss UCI defamation case

by Shane Stokes at 11:03 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
Former rider commanded to pay 10,000 Swiss Francs to McQuaid and Verbruggen

Floyd LandisThe UCI, current president Pat McQuaid and former president Hein Verbruggen have secured a judgement against Floyd Landis in the Eastern Vaud District court in Switzerland, relating to a legal case taken on grounds of defamation.

The ruling was passed on September 26th, but only communicated to the press today by the governing body. It is a judgement of default due to the absence of a defence by Landis.

The case was launched on April 29th 2011 in response to various statements made by Landis in relation to Lance Armstrong, the UCI and others.

In April 2010 the former US Postal Service rider said that doping took place on the team, making the statements in emails to USA Cycling and others. These became public in May of that year, following which he gave a number of interviews elaborating on the details.

He said that Lance Armstrong, the US Postal Service team and others were involved in the systematic use of banned substances, and that former UCI President Hein Verbruggen helped cover up a positive test for EPO by Lance Armstrong in the 2001 Tour de Suisse.

He also said that the UCI protected the Texan and several other important riders against doping cases, thus ensuring that the big names continued to race and bring money into the sport.

The UCI denied the claims and said last May that it would take action. “The International Cycling Union (UCI), its current President, Mr Pat McQuaid, and one of its former Presidents, Mr Hein Verbruggen, have lodged a case in the Swiss courts against Mr Floyd Landis regarding repeated, serious attacks against their characters,” it said in a release.

“By this step, made necessary by numerous unacceptable public statements by Mr Landis, the UCI is seeking to defend the integrity of the cycling movement as a whole against the accusations of a rider who, by breaching the Anti-doping Rules, caused cycling serious harm.”

The court has now reached a conclusion, setting out nine stipulations as follows:

I. upholds in large part the petition of 29 April 2011 lodged by the Union Cycliste Internationale, Patrick McQuaid and Henricus Verbruggen against Floyd Landis;

II. forbids Floyd Landis to state that the Union Cycliste Internationale, Patrick (Pat) McQuaid and/or Henricus (Hein) Verbruggen have concealed cases of doping, received money for doing so, have accepted money from Lance Armstrong to conceal a doping case, have protected certain racing cyclists, concealed cases of doping, have engaged in manipulation, particularly of tests and races, have hesitated and delayed publishing the results of a positive test on Alberto Contador, have accepted bribes, are corrupt, are terrorists, have no regard for the rules, load the dice, are fools, do not have a genuine desire to restore discipline to cycling, are full of shit, are clowns, their words are worthless, are liars, are no different to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, or to make any similar other allegations of that kind;

III. orders Floyd Landis to publish at his own expense the present operative provisions in the following media:
- Wall Street Journal (New York, USA);
- L’Equipe (Paris, FR);
- Le Temps (Geneva, CH);
- NYVelocity.com (New York, USA);
- Cyclingnews.com (UK);
- Velonation.com (Chevy Chase, Maryland, USA);
- Velonews.com (USA);
- De Volksrant (Amsterdam, NL);

IV. notes that the prohibition under II above and the order under III above shall be subject to a fine in accordance with article 292 of the Swiss Criminal Code in the event of failure to comply with a decision by the competent authority; under the provision, anyone who fails to comply with a decision of which he/she has been notified, under threat of the penalty provided by the present article, by a competent authority or official, shall be punishable by a fine;

V. orders Floyd Landis to pay Patrick (Pat) McQuaid and Henricus (Hein) Verbruggen the sum of CHF 10,000 (ten thousand Swiss francs) each, with interest of 5% per year from the time that the judgment becomes final and binding;

VI. sets costs at CHF 2,100 (two thousand one hundred Swiss francs) payable by Floyd Landis, offset by the expenses advanced by the petitioners, and notes that the balance shall be returned to the said petitioners;

VII. notes that Floyd Landis owes the International Cycling Union, Patrick (Pat) McQuaid and Henricus (Hein) Verbruggen jointly the sum of CHF 4,600 (four thousand six hundred Swiss francs), including disbursements and VAT, by way of expenses, to wit:
- CHF 2,100 (two thousand one hundred Swiss francs) for court costs;
- CHF 2,500 (two thousand five hundred Swiss francs), including disbursements
and VAT, as a contribution to the fees and disbursements of their legal counsel;

VIII. notes that if no request for grounds for the present judgment is presented within the legally established time frame, the costs payable by Floyd Landis under VI above shall be reduced to CHF 1,680 (one thousand six hundred and eighty Swiss francs), and the expenses granted under VII above shall consequently be reduced to CHF 4,180 (four thousand one hundred and eighty Swiss francs), including disbursements and VAT, payable by Floyd Landis;

IX. rejects any and all further findings.



It concludes by saying that copies of the judgement will be sent to the UCI, McQuaid and Verbruggen via their legal counsel, while Landis’ notification will be via ‘publication in the official gazette.’

“The parties may request the grounds of the judgment within ten days of receipt of the present operative provisions, failing which the judgment shall become final and binding,” it states.

Testimony against team led to ‘considerable evidence’ being discovered:


Landis’s statements against Armstrong and others were echoed by other former team-mates and helped drive a multinational doping investigation. In the US, that inquiry began with the FDA and USADA looking into the claims, and grew when other agencies such as the FBI, the U.S. Postal Service’s Office of Inspector General, plus both the civil and criminal divisions of the Department of Justice became involved.

The federal investigation was shut down unexpectedly this year, but the USADA continued gathering evidence and handed down a lifetime ban plus a disqualification of results from August 1998 to Lance Armstrong when he decided not to contest the charges.

The controversial doctors Michele Ferrari and Luis Garcia del Moral also chose not to fight the charges and were also deemed guilty of doping actions. They too were served lifetime bans. Current RadioShack Nissan doctor Pedro Celaya – who worked with the US Postal Service team in 1999 - trainer Peper Mardi and former team manager Johan Bruyneel all face arbitration hearings before the end of the year.

After Landis’s claims were made, the UCI changed its stance on the US Postal Service team. In May 2010 McQuaid was adamant that he was lying. “I think Landis is in a very sad situation and I feel sorry for the guy because I don’t accept anything he says as true,” he said.

“This is a guy who has been condemned in court, who has stood up in court and stated that he never saw any doping in cycling. He’s written a book saying he won the Tour de France clean. Where does that leave his credibility? He has an agenda and is obviously out to seek revenge.”

However last year the Irishman said something quite different to Cycling Weekly. “A lot of the stuff he says in relation to what went on in those years is probably true,” he admitted.

“There was a lot of doping doing on in those teams in those years. If it [the federal investigation] proves that the US Postal team were involved in a lot of doping, it wouldn’t necessarily surprise me. In those days it was possible to beat the system.”

During his presidency, Verbruggen maintained that cycling was largely clean, and criticised those such as Giles Delion and Graeme Obree who suggested otherwise.

The Festina Affair subsequently proved those riders were correct in their complaints about widespread doping.

Both he and McQuaid are suing journalist Paul Kimmage for articles which appeared in the Sunday Times and l’Equipe. The former was a long interview with Landis. They are complaining about what they say are defamatory statements about them.

Kimmage was initially unsure how he would fight the case as he is currently unemployed. However a defence fund set up less than two weeks ago has had a staggering response, with over 1600 people contributing over $50,000 thus far.

Kimmage has said he is ‘energized’ by the response and has secured a lawyer in Switzerland. He has said he intends to bring a range of witnesses to the December hearing in order to battle the charges.

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