Lance Armstrong is set to be sued next week for $12 million (£7.5 million/€9 million) by SCA Promotions, the insurer who covered the bonuses paid to the American cyclist for three of his seven Tour de France victories.
Texan company SCA Promotions had previously lost an arbitration hearing against Armstrong after they refused to honor the bonus for Armstrong’s sixth Tour win in 2004, totaling $5 million (£3 million/€4 million), because it claimed Armstrong was not a clean rider.
Lance Armstrong celebrates winning his sixth Tour de France title in 2004.
The insurance policy had been taken out by Tailwind Sports, owner of the US Postal team, to cover performance bonuses payable to Armstrong if he claimed his fourth, fifth and sixth Tour victories.
Armstrong took the company to an arbitration hearing in Dallas in 2005 and won, because the contract between the parties stipulated the insurance money would be payable if Armstrong was the “official winner” of the Tour.
But now, after Armstrong admitted to Oprah Winfrey using banned performance-enhancing drugs during all seven of his Tour de France victories, SCA are seeking the return of the money.
“We will likely file that lawsuit as soon as next week unless we get a satisfactory response from Armstrong’s camp,” SCA lawyer Jeff Tillotson said. “Lance Armstrong neither has the legal right, nor frankly the moral right to keep those funds.”
The sum of $12 million (£7.5 million/€9 million) includes the return of the bonuses plus legal costs and interest.
“As you can imagine, we paid him $12 million for being the official winner of three Tour de France races and swearing under oath he was a clean rider during those races,” Tillotson told BBC 5live’s BeSpoke program. “He’s now told us, at least though Oprah, that he lied when he told us he was a clean rider. He doped during all those races, and USADA (United States Anti-Doping Agency) and UCI (International Cycling Union) have stripped him of his official title status. So under those circumstances my client naturally wants his money back.”
Armstrong was shown during the interview with Winfrey appearing at the arbitration hearing denying that he had used performance-enhancing drugs.
“Every question in his testimony that he answered no to when I asked him, he answered yes to Oprah Winfrey,” said Tillotson. “So it was pretty clear from the first few minutes of the interview he was admitting that he had committed perjury in our legal proceedings in the US. From our perspective we were somewhat floored by how quickly he admitted that.”
Armstrong is already being sued by The Sunday Times for £1 million ($1.6 million/€1.2 million) after he successfully won a libel action against them nine years ago following an article written by David Walsh, arguably his biggest critic.
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