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Armstrong loses arbitration ruling

Lance Armstrong of the US Postal-Berry Floor team after the 18th stage of the 2003 Tour de France cycling race in Saint-Maixent-l'Ecole, France. The former US cyclist has been ordered to pay a record 10 million US dollar  to Texas based firm SCA promotions.  EPA/Gero Breloer

Lance Armstrong of the US Postal-Berry Floor team after the 18th stage of the 2003 Tour de France cycling race in Saint-Maixent-l’Ecole, France. The former US cyclist has been ordered to pay a record $US10 million to Texas based firm SCA promotions. EPA/Gero Breloer

Austin – AP An arbitration panel ordered Lance Armstrong and Tailwind Sports Corp to pay $US10 million ($A13 million) in a fraud dispute with a promotions company.

Dallas-based SCA Promotions announced the 2-1 decision against the former cyclist when its lawyers said on Monday they had asked Texas’ 116th Civil District Court in Dallas to confirm the arbitration ruling, dated February 4.

The panel included a neutral chairman, who ruled in favour of SCA, and one person selected by each side.

SCA paid Armstrong and Tailwind, the since-dissolved team management company, about $US12 million in bonuses during Armstrong’s career, when he won seven Tour de France titles.

Those victories were stripped after Armstrong and his US Postal Service teams were found to have used banned performance-enhancing drugs.

SCA disputed the bonuses in arbitration in 2005, and the case produced the foundation of the doping evidence later used against him.

Despite allegations of cheating, Armstrong continued to deny doping and the company settled with Armstrong and paid him $US7 million in 2006.

The company sued Armstrong to get its money back after Armstrong’s cheating was exposed by a report from the US Anti-Doping Agency and a televised confession interview with Oprah Winfrey.

The case was sent back to the original arbitration panel of independent chairman Richard Faulkner, SCA selection Richard Chernick and Armstrong pick Ted Lyon.

In the 2005 arbitration hearings, Armstrong testified under oath that he did not use performance-enhancing drugs.

‘Perjury must never be profitable,’ the majority wrote in the new decision.

‘Tailwind Sports Corp and Lance Armstrong have justly earned wide public condemnation. That is an inadequate deterrent. Deception demands real, meaningful sanctions.’

The arbitration majority said the $US10 million was a penalty for Armstrong’s lying and efforts to intimidate or coerce witnesses in the previous case.

Armstrong also is being sued by the federal government and former teammate Floyd Landis in a whistleblower fraud action over his team’s sponsorship contract with the Postal Service.

That case is not set to go to trial before 2016.

 


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