Sunday Times considering legal action against Armstrong
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Saturday, October 13, 2012

Sunday Times considering legal action against Armstrong

by Shane Stokes at 8:43 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
Paper would seek to recoup settlement paid in 2006 plus pursue rider for fraud

Sunday TimesThe repercussions of USADA’s thousand page file on doping charges against Lance Armstrong and the US Postal Service team continue to take effect, with the Sunday Times now confirming that it may take legal action against the Texan.

The newspaper was forced to pay a large sum in 2006 after Armstrong and his representatives sued it over an article which appeared in the newspaper.

A settlement was made then to the rider, who claimed he was racing clean and was defamed by the article in question.

In August the Sunday Times told VeloNation that it was closely monitoring the investigation into Armstrong.

“It is still under consideration at the moment,” said Sunday Times sports editor Alex Butler then, speaking about possible legal action. “He sued the Sunday Times after we persisted in raising question about doping in cycling. The litigation was subsequently settled, but may well now be challenged in the light of the investigation by the USADA.”

A spokeswoman for the paper has now said that it is looking at launching a case. She told Reuters yesterday that it was “considering taking action to recover the money spent on a libel case he (Armstrong) brought, and to pursue him for fraud.”

If the latter charges are successful, it would greatly increase the payout due from the rider. Reuters states that a senior source at the newspaper said that the original case cost it approximately $1 million.

Armstrong has not admitted doping but a very considerable body of evidence was gathered by USADA, including testimony from 26 witnesses, eleven of which were former team-mates, plus emails, bank transfers and other information.

His decision not to contest the charges against him meant that USADA proceeded with the sanctions of a lifetime ban plus the stripping of his past results since 1998.

USADA has sent its justification for the sanction plus details of the evidence to the UCI and WADA, who can either accept it or appeal.

If the sanctions are upheld, the Sunday Times will likely move forward with its case. Ditto for SCA Promotions, a Texan company which had been paid a premium by the US Postal Service management company Tailwind Sports to cover the performance bonuses that would be due to the rider when he won the Tour.

A sum of $5 million was payable after he won his sixth Tour title in 2004 but, on the basis of the doping claims made in the LA Confidentiel book, SCA refused to pay out on the grounds that the Tour wins may not have been clean.

It ultimately lost a legal case brought against it by Armstrong as the original contract had not included stipulations about doping.

The company had previously paid out for his victories in 2001/2002 and 2003 and, with Armstrong’s legal fees taken into account, handed over an estimated $12 million in total.

SCA Promotions told VeloNation yesterday that it would determine its course of action once the UCI had decided what it was going to do.

If both it and the Sunday Times ultimately proceed with their cases, the potential costs to Armstrong could be very high indeed.

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