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Newspaper wants back £300,000 it paid to settle libel claim in 2006, plus interest and costs

The Sunday Times has revealed that it is suing Lance Armstrong for the return of money paid for him to settle a libel claim, in a case that could cost the disgraced cyclist up to £1 million. In 2006, the newspaper paid Armstrong £300,000 in an out-of-court settlement relating to its publication in 2004 of allegations that he doped.

Now, in a letter sent to Armstrong's lawyers, The Sunday Times said: "It is clear that the proceedings were baseless and fraudulent. Your representations that you had never taken performance enhancing drugs were deliberately false."

The publication is suing for return of the £300,000 paid to Armstrong to settle that earlier action, brought in the High Court in London, plus interest and costs.

That case was concerned with the newspaper's publication of extracts from the book LA Confidentiel, which its chief sports writer David Walsh had co-written with Pierre Ballester.

The book itself has never been published in English, although earlier this month Walsh, recently named journalist of the year in the Press Gazette Awards, brought out a second book about Armstrong, called Seven Deadly Sins.

The Sunday Times has been considering its position regarding that libel settlement ever since Armstrong was banned from sport for life and stripped of results dating back to 1998, including those seven Tour de France titles he won between 1999 and 2005.

Armstrong, who regularly resorted to threats of legal action against those who pointed the finger at him, has never admitted taking performance enhancing drugs, although he chose not to contest the United States Anti-Doping Agency's charges against him.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

15 comments

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Mat Brett [626 posts] 3 years ago
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It had to happen. Form an orderly queue.

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fatbeggaronabike [823 posts] 3 years ago
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The gate has been opened!

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Sam1 [220 posts] 3 years ago
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It'll get settled out of court so that he doesnt have to appear

And I know this is a little nit-picking...but Walsh covered Armstrong in another book after LA Confidential - From Lance to Landis. So really SDS is his 3rd book covering Armstrong.

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TeamExtreme [100 posts] 3 years ago
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This is going to run and run isn't it...

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a.jumper [846 posts] 3 years ago
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Shame on Team Sky's sister newspaper for keeping this story alive!

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mbrads72 [183 posts] 3 years ago
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Do they have a case though, when it was an out of court settlement? No-one's proved anything in a court of law on either side here, neither that LA hadn't doped when the Sunday Times paid him off, nor now.

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farrell [1950 posts] 3 years ago
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TeamExtreme wrote:

This is going to run and run isn't it...

Well yes, as long as that running and running doesnt involve bike or swim sections of course...

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The Rumpo Kid [589 posts] 3 years ago
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"Merry Christmas Ange". ("Lance" shurely? Ed.)

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badback [302 posts] 3 years ago
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Whilst I'm not a fan of Murdoch and his media controlling empire......

.....bring it on.

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Gkam84 [9089 posts] 3 years ago
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I'm thinking about launching my own lawsuit for spoiling my enjoyment of all the races I have watched with him in it. £5k should do it??

But I see him declaring himself bankrupt soon....

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wingsofspeed68 [63 posts] 3 years ago
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KARMA!

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Shanghaied [50 posts] 3 years ago
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mbrads72 wrote:

Do they have a case though, when it was an out of court settlement? No-one's proved anything in a court of law on either side here, neither that LA hadn't doped when the Sunday Times paid him off, nor now.

My thoughts exactly, the settlement is a contract between the parties where one promises not to sue, and in return the other side pays. The Sunday Times chose not to contest whether LA doped or not in court, so whether LA doped or not is not really the point is it?

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The Rumpo Kid [589 posts] 3 years ago
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Shanghaied wrote:
mbrads72 wrote:

Do they have a case though, when it was an out of court settlement? No-one's proved anything in a court of law on either side here, neither that LA hadn't doped when the Sunday Times paid him off, nor now.

My thoughts exactly, the settlement is a contract between the parties where one promises not to sue, and in return the other side pays. The Sunday Times chose not to contest whether LA doped or not in court, so whether LA doped or not is not really the point is it?

That isn't quite what happened. Armstrong did sue, but the case was settled out of court with the Sunday Times paying damages and printing an apology. The payment and apology were fraudulently obtained by Armstrong misrepresenting himself as a clean sportsperson.
More good news: In bringing a false action against the Sunday Times (assuming it wins this case), Armstrong has laid himself open to criminal charges. And a happy new year!

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OldRidgeback [2632 posts] 3 years ago
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The Rumpo Kid wrote:
Shanghaied wrote:
mbrads72 wrote:

Do they have a case though, when it was an out of court settlement? No-one's proved anything in a court of law on either side here, neither that LA hadn't doped when the Sunday Times paid him off, nor now.

My thoughts exactly, the settlement is a contract between the parties where one promises not to sue, and in return the other side pays. The Sunday Times chose not to contest whether LA doped or not in court, so whether LA doped or not is not really the point is it?

That isn't quite what happened. Armstrong did sue, but the case was settled out of court with the Sunday Times paying damages and printing an apology. The payment and apology were fraudulently obtained by Armstrong misrepresenting himself as a clean sportsperson.
More good news: In bringing a false action against the Sunday Times (assuming it wins this case), Armstrong has laid himself open to criminal charges. And a happy new year!

Oh yes of course, false representation or perjury charges could be brought against him. I expect there will be other legal cases too. I think he might find things very uncomfortable in the next year or so, as he was ready to sue in the past. I'm sure there are several others who will have faced legal threats from him in the past. It'll cost him a lot of money too.

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Lacticlegs [124 posts] 3 years ago
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Gkam84 wrote:

I'm thinking about launching my own lawsuit for spoiling my enjoyment of all the races I have watched with him in it. £5k should do it??

But I see him declaring himself bankrupt soon....

I wonder if this is possible? Seriously - anyone here with a bit of legal knowledge? I'd honestly like to. I bought tickets to France to see the race, I bought his books, I bought his armbands...eventually stopped buying his bulls##t...but by then it had cost me quite a bit.

Surely there should be some redress for that?