Disgraced former cyclist Lance Armstong faces a $20 million bill for prize money accepted while lying about using performance enhancing drugs.
A report in The Times says that the Texan has failed in a request to prevent a panel from reviewing the bonuses he received before confessing to cheating. He is now liable to repay Dallas-based SCA Promotions for $12m in prize money, plus interest, costs and damages.
Jeff Tillotson, SCA Promotions attorney, is quoted in the piece:
“It is beyond dispute that he perjured himself in our (2006) proceeding. The only thing left to resolve in this is in what manner should he be punished. He should not be allowed to retain the benefits he got from lying. He used his lies to obtain more than $10 million from us. In addition we had several million dollars in legal fees and suffered an enormous amount of damaging publicity. Those are factors we’re going to ask the panel to consider.”
“Whether he faces criminal or not, he did benefit financially tremendously from his lies. I think everyone would agree that someone who lies to get millions of dollars ought not to keep that. That’s what we will be asking the arbitration panel to do.”
Armstrong has also been accused of defrauding the US government over its sponsorship of the United States Postal Team, for whom Armstrong raced. If the ruling goes against Armstrong in that case, he could be forced to repay $120 million.
The Armstrong rulings could also set a precedent for the punishment of future drugs cheats. Making them repay any money earned in sponsorship and prize money during the time they cheated looks like the only possible way to stop them. If only this could be applied to A-Rod…