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Lance Armstrong doping scandal sparks litigation

The cyclist’s admission that he used performance-enhancing drugs reportedly has companies and the U.S. government considering lawsuits against him

On Thursday, cyclist Lance Armstrong finally admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs, confirming allegations that have been swirling for years.

The confession has certainly had professional ramifications for the cyclist, who resigned from the board of his Livestrong cancer charity, lost sponsorship deals and was stripped of his Tour de France victories and his 2000 Olympic bronze medal in the wake of the scandal. But legal ramifications are coming as well, as companies, individuals and even the U.S. government are said to be mulling lawsuits against Armstrong.

One such company, SCA Promotions, has threatened to take legal action if Armstrong does not return $12 million in bonus money that it gave him following his Tour de France victories. Tailwind Sports, which owned Armstrong’s U.S. Postal team, pledged a $5 million bonus to Armstrong if he won his sixth title. The company took out insurance with SCA Promotions to cover the cost, but SCA refused to pay up when Armstrong won, citing doping allegations against the cyclist. Armstrong eventually won a 2006 settlement with the insurance company that included the bonus, interest and attorney fees.

The disgraced athlete could also be in trouble with the U.S. Department of Justice, which is considering joining a whistleblower suit against Armstrong, the Wall Street Journal reported. Armstrong’s former teammate, Floyd Landis, filed the suit in 2010, claiming that Armstrong defrauded the U.S. government by taking $30.6 million in sponsorship money from the U.S. Postal Service between 2001 and 2004. The team’s contract with the Postal Service reportedly said that the agreement would be rendered invalid if any riders or team personnel attracted negative publicity due to banned substances.

And Armstrong is already facing a $1.5 million lawsuit courtesy of a British newspaper that paid him nearly half-a-million dollars to settle a libel suit in 2006. The cyclist sued the Sunday Times after the Rupert Murdoch-owned paper reprinted allegations that he had taken performance-enhancing drugs.

Read more at Thomson Reuters.

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Alanna Byrne

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