Lance Armstrong’s former manager at the United States Postal Service (USPS) cycling team, Johan Bruyneel, has been ordered to pay the US federal government $1.2 million as the long-running case initiated by Floyd Landis alleging misuse of government funds to finance the team’s doping programme reached its conclusion yesterday.
USA Today reports that Judge Christopher Cooper ruled that Bruyneel, under whom Armstrong won the seven Tour de France titles he would later be stripped of, had enjoyed “unjust enrichment” at the expense of USPS. He also fined the Belgian, who turns 54 today, $369,000 in civil penalties.
“This ruling marks the finish line of a lawsuit brought by Floyd Landis and the federal government to recover money paid by the U.S. Postal Service to sponsor a professional cycling team featuring Lance Armstrong,” said Judge Cooper.
The case was initiated by Landis in 2010 under the False Claims Act, with the government joining the action three years later. Under the act, the government could have recouped $100 million from Armstrong and his co-defendants, equivalent to three times the sponsorship paid.
In April, however, Armstrong reached a settlement with the government, paying $7 million to end the action against him.
Whether the judgment can ever be enforced against Bruyneel, who has taken no part in the action since 2014 when he instructed his lawyers to stand down, is open to question given that he is an EU national living outside the United States.
The same year an arbitration panel banned Bruyneel from involvement in cycling for 10 years for his part in the USPS doping conspiracy.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.