The U.S. Justice Department joined a lawsuit Friday against disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong over his use of performance-enhancing drugs during the Tour de France. They say that that by doing so, he defrauded his longtime sponsor, the U.S. Postal Service.
"Lance Armstrong and his cycling team took more than $30 million from the U.S. Postal Service based on their contractual promise to play fair and abide by the rules — including the rules against doping," said U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen, whose office is handling the case. "The Postal Service has now seen its sponsorship unfairly associated with what has been described as 'the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen.'"
While Armstrong has sought to settle his differences with the Justice Department, they are reportedly millions of dollars apart. In announcing it is joining the case, the Justice Department emphasized Armstrong's concealment of his activities and said the cover-up went back to at least 1998.
"The U.S. Postal Service Cycling Team was run as a fraudulent enterprise and individuals both inside and outside of sport aided and abetted this scheme and profited greatly," said Travis Tygart, CEO of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. "USADA applauds today's action by the U.S. Department of Justice which holds promise for returning the many millions of federal dollars in ill-gotten gains generated by this fraud."
"We disagree about whether the postal service was damaged,” said Armstrong lawyer Robert Luskin. "The postal service's own studies show that the service benefited tremendously from its sponsorship — benefits totaling more than $100 million.”