Becca loses court case against Bruyneel, owes €900,000 plus interest
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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Becca loses court case against Bruyneel, owes €900,000 plus interest

by VeloNation Press at 5:52 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
RadioShack Leopard team owner must repay remainder of loan

Johan BruyneelLuxembourg businessman Flavio Becca has lost a court case taken by former employee Johan Bruyneel, and as a result will have to pay back almost a million euros plus interest.

The claim relates to a loan of 1.5 million euro given by Bruyneel to Becca in March of last year, and used to pay the salaries of riders. According to RTL.lu, just €600,000 of this has been repaid to date and in a bid to recoup the remainder of what is owed, Bruyneel took Becca to court.

The outcome of that case is a ruling that Becca must repay the remaining €900,000, plus interest. He is hoping to reach a settlement with Bruyneel.

The latter was general manager of the US Postal Service, Discovery Channel and Astana teams prior to moving to RadioShack Leopard. He was involved with numerous Grand Tour winning squads, but lost all credibility as a result of the US Anti Doping Agency’s reasoned decision.

That document concluded that he had played a central role in doping for many years.

Bruyneel and RadioShack Nissan parted ways in October, with a team statement saying that the decision had been a mutual one. However it was obvious at that point that his position was untenable.

“The Reasoned Decision published by the USADA included a number of testimonies as a result of their investigation,” said the team then in a statement. “In light of these testimonies, both parties feel it is necessary to make this decision since Johan Bruyneel can no longer direct the team in an efficient and comfortable way. His departure is desirable to ensure the serenity and cohesiveness within the team.”

At the time the team’s top rider Fabian Cancellara had voiced strong concerns. “Bruyneel's name appears 129 times in 200 pages. I do not know if I can work with Johan,” he told Het Laaste Nieuws.

The Belgian is still awaiting the dates of his arbitration hearing in relation to USADA’s case. He recently made what may have been a tacit admission that he had indeed been involved in doping riders.

“These indictments are heavy, very heavy to me,” he told the Belgian magazine Humo. “If my mom calls in tears because she has read something bad about me, that breaks my heart. Especially since the pertinent lies. I can look anyone in the eye. I've never been a person's health at risk.”

The distinction between putting a person’s health at risk and breaking anti-doping rules is a clear one, and is a similar line of defence as was used recently by the Spanish doping doctor Eufemiano Fuentes.

The future of the team is uncertain, although it is believed that Trek could take over the backing of the team in 2014 and that Becca may withdraw.

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