Lance Armstrong ordered to pay $10M over “unparalleled pageant of international perjury, fraud & conspiracy”
DELAWARE, USA (REUTERS) – Lance Armstrong was ordered to pay $10 million to a sports insurance company after arbitrators ruled against the disgraced cyclist over bonuses he received during his Tour de France winning streak, the firm said on Monday (February16).
Dallas-based SCA Promotions had paid $12 million in bonuses to Armstrong but sued to get its money back after the American had admitted to doping.
The arbitrators issued the award to SCA after a multi-day evidentiary hearing during which Armstrong testified.
“According to the arbitrators’ written ruling, the sanctions award punishes Armstrong for engaging in ‘an unparalleled pageant of international perjury, fraud and conspiracy,'” SCA said in a statement.
The bonus money from SCA was for three of Armstrong’s seven Tour de France victories. Armstrong was stripped of his titles and handed a lifetime ban in 2012, after a U.S. Anti-Doping investigation.
Reuters interviewed lead lawyer in the case, Jeffery Tillotson, at the time of the court hearings in early 2013, and Tillotson explained his clients complaint against the disgraced cyclist.
“My client had a contract with Lance Armstrong to whereby we would pay him prize money if he won a series of Tour de France in 2002, 2003, and 2004. He won those races. We paid him the prize money because he said he was a clean rider. Now that he’s admitted he doped and those titles have been stripped of him, my client feels it is entitled to the return of that money.”
Tillotson described the tactics employed by Armstrong against his client, SCA, and others.
“In the world of cycling he was enormously influential and powerful. He could drive sponsors away from a magazine if it published bad articles about him. He could prevent other riders from even working in the business like he did Frankie Andreu. He took out full pages ads in national newspapers against my client and there was nothing we could do to combat that.”
During the mostrecent hearing, arbitrators considered whether Armstrong should be punished for his wrongful conduct in connection with his original dispute with SCA.
That dispute, which took place in 2005, involved whether the firm owed Armstrong bonuses after he had won a series of Tour de France races.
Armstrong had sworn under oath on numerous occasions in that proceeding that he never used performance-enhancing drugs during his career. SCA subsequently settled the matter for $7.5 million in 2006.
But Armstrong confessed in 2013 that he cheated during his Tour de France victories. As a result, SCA re-convened the arbitration proceeding.
After an evidentiary hearing, the arbitrators found that Armstrong “used perjury and other wrongful conduct to secure millions of dollars of benefits.”
“It is hard to describe how much harm Lance Armstrong’s web of lies caused SCA but this is a good first start towards repairing that damage,” said SCA President Bob Hamman.
SCA filed a motion with a Dallas state district court on Monday to have the award confirmed.
Armstrong’s attorney, Tim Herman, said the case is not closed and that the one dissenting arbitrator in the majority ruling made the “proper analysis of governing law.”
“This award is unprecedented. No court or arbitrator has ever reopened a matter which was fully and finally settled voluntarily,” Herman wrote in an email to Reuters.