Lance Armstrong will settle a fraud lawsuit against him by paying $5 million to the federal government. Armstrong, 46, is a cancer survivor and cycling champion who won seven Tour de France titles. He was stripped of his Tour de France titles and barred for life from Olympic sports after being found to be doping while competing for a cycling team sponsored by the U.S. Postal Service.
Between 2000 and 2004, the Postal Service paid Armstrong’s team $32.3 million as its sponsor. The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency released a report in late 2012 that Armstrong’s U.S. Postal Service Pro Cycling Team “ran the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen.” Armstrong was also accused of orchestrating a coverup of the team’s use of blood transfusions and banned substances.
Armstrong admitted to doping in 2013 after 13 years of denying he ever used performance-enhancing drugs. The Justice Department was seeking repayment of sponsorship fees, plus damages totaling $100 million. The settlement was reached in an agreement with the U.S. Justice Department.
Armstrong also agreed to pay $1.65 million to cover legal costs of Floyd Landis, a former Armstrong teammate. According to lawyers in the case, Landis was the whistleblower in the case. Landis said in a statement that blowing the whistle on Armstrong “was the right thing to do, and I am hopeful that some positive changes for cycling and sport in general will be the result.”
In a statement, the Justice Department said the settlement showed “no one is above the law”. The agreement ends the last legal action against Armstrong. Armstrong is reportedly happy about resolving the final lawsuit and putting the issue behind him. Armstrong said , “I am glad to resolve this case and move forward with my life. I’m looking forward to devoting myself to the many great things in my life — my five kids, my wife, my podcast, several exciting writing and film projects, my work as a cancer survivor, and my passion for sports and competition.”