Lefevere awarded 500,000 euros in slander case
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Friday, October 30, 2009

Lefevere awarded 500,000 euros in slander case

by Steve Jones at 2:17 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 

The end of the cycling season hasn't stopped Quick Step team manager Patrick Lefevere from winning, although today his battle was won in the courtroom rather than on the cobblestones of the Spring Classics.

Lefevere was awarded 500,000 euros in compensation by a court in Brussels for damages incurred from what were proven in court to be slanderous stories about doping involving the Belgian. The articles appeared in Het Laatste Nieuws just over two years ago.

The journalist and two editors responsible for publishing and writing the series of articles entitled, "Patrick Lefevere: 30 years of doping", were ordered to pay for the damages claimed by the Quick Step boss. The defendants were also ordered to pay two years worth of interest, and an additional 100,000 euros that went to the team doctor Yvan Vanmol. All three defendants are no longer employed by the newspaper.

Lefevere cited the series of articles as the reason for Swiss company Franke, a maker of kitchen systems, backing out of their agreement to sponsor the team in 2007.

"I am very pleased that justice has been done," said Lefevere on Radio 2 West-Vlaanderen. "These people have not only damaged me morally but have also done a lot of damage financially. This is a beautiful statement."

The attorney for the Belgian was also happy with the outcome. "The award covers 73 pages," Chris Declerck, Lefevere's lawyer, told Sporza, "and refers to the slanderous campaign by the newspaper against Lefevere and Quick-Step."

With his victory in court Lefevere hopes to send a message to the media. "Now maybe journalists will think three times before they accuse someone. To destroy me and the team was the only goal," he added.

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