New York: Sports insurance company SCA Promotions Inc filed a lawsuit against drug-cheat Lance Armstrong in a Texas state court on Thursday, demanding the disgraced American cyclist repay $12 million in bonuses and fees it paid him for winning the Tour de France.
Armstrong’s team took out an insurance policy with SCA to cover bonuses for him winning the Tour de France. SCA paid him for two wins, but balked in 2004 when doping allegations got loud. SCA went to court in 2005 to prove Armstrong cheated to win, but the cyclist denied it and the case was thrown out.
The SCA lawsuit now seeks to recover $9.5 million in bonus money it forked over to Armstrong for his 2002, 2003 and 2004 Tour de France wins, plus $2.5 million in interest and attorney fees.
Thursday’s lawsuit notes that Armstrong testified under oath in the 2005 dispute that he didn’t use drugs to win, all of which he now admits to doing. The lawsuit claims Armstrong perjured himself.
"I race the bike straight up fair and square," Armstrong testified under oath in the SCA arbitration, the suit says.
"It is time now for Mr Armstrong to face the consequences of his actions," said the lawsuit, which demands a jury trial. "He admits he doped; he admits he bullied people; he admits he lied."
The lawsuit, filed against Armstrong and his agent William Stapleton, comes three weeks after Armstrong’s televised interview with Oprah Winfrey where he confessed he’d taken drugs to capture his seven Tour de France titles.
During the Oprah interview Armstrong tearfully recounted having to tell his 13-year-old son the doping allegations were true. The lawsuit says Armstrong told the arbitration panel back in 2005 that he didn't dope because he wouldn't want his son to someday follow him into a dirty sport.
Armstrong’s lawyers and SCA officials first began discussing a settlement in November last year, shortly after the US Anti-Doping Agency initiated formal charges against the cyclist for conspiring to run a sophisticated doping program. The anti-doping agency doesn't have the authority to bring criminal charges, but it stripped Armstrong of his seven Tour de France victories and banned him from competition.
Not so long ago, Armstrong had one of the best reputations in sports. He was a seven-time Tour de France champion, a cancer survivor and the driving force behind the LiveStrong charity. Armstrong won the Tour de France every year from 1999-2005.
The SCA case isn’t Armstrong’s only legal headache. Attorneys for the cyclist have been in negotiations with the Justice Department and Floyd Landis’ lawyers to settle the whistleblower lawsuit his former teammate filed in 2010.
Last month two California men also sued Armstrong and his book publishers for “fraud and false advertising,” claiming his bestselling memoirs It's Not About the Bike and Every Second Counts, billed as non-fiction, were revealed post-confession to be filled with lies. Armstrong used his memoirs to vehemently deny he was using performance-enhancing drugs.
First Published On : Feb 8, 2013 08:05 IST