US Department of Justice formally joins Floyd Landis’ whistleblower lawsuit against Armstrong and former team
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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

US Department of Justice formally joins Floyd Landis’ whistleblower lawsuit against Armstrong and former team

by Shane Stokes at 8:32 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
Qui Tam case could see damages of up to $120 million

US Department of JusticeAfter announcing in February that it intended joining Floyd Landis’ whistleblower case against Lance Armstrong and the Tailwind Sports company, which was the former owner of the US Postal Service cycling team, the US Department of Justice confirmed yesterday that it had formally filed its Qui Tam case yesterday.

It stated that it was aiming to recover triple the amount of sponsorship funds originally paid out, something which is permitted by the False Claims act in cases of fraud. If successful, the case could be very costly for Armstrong and the other defendants, who also include former team manager Johan Bruyneel.

“The USPS paid approximately $40 million to sponsor the USPS cycling team from 1998 to 2004,” stated the Justice department in the official court document.

The complaint was filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, with the Department of Justice having until yesterday to file the case under the relevant sixty day deadline.

In February Stuart F. Delery, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division of the Department of Justice, laid out the reasons for the planned action.

“The Postal Service contract with Tailwind required the team to enter cycling races, wear the Postal Service logo, and follow the rules banning performance enhancing substances – rules that Lance Armstrong has now admitted he violated,” he said, referring to the confession of doping Armstrong made on the Oprah Winfrey show in January.

“Today’s action demonstrates the Department of Justice’s steadfast commitment to safeguarding federal funds and making sure that contractors live up to their promises.”

Armstrong’s legal team have indicated that part of their defence will be to argue that the US Postal Service benefited from the publicity the team generated at the time. However in February Ronald C. Machen Jr., U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, argued that in the long term, real damage had been done.

“The Postal Service has now seen its sponsorship unfairly associated with what has been described as ‘the most sophisticated, professionalized, and successful doping program that sport has ever seen,’ he stated then. “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.

“In today’s economic climate, the U.S. Postal Service is simply not in a position to allow Lance Armstrong or any of the other defendants to walk away with the tens of millions of dollars they illegitimately procured.”

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