Disgraced former cyclist Lance Armstrong has agreed to pay $5 million to settle a fraud case over the U.S. Postal Service’s sponsorship of his cycling team, according to the New York Times.
The case, filed in 2010 by a former U.S. Postal Service teammate and whistleblower Floyd Landis under the False Claims Act, alleges that Armstrong and his teammates defrauded the U.S. government by doping while sponsored. The federal government joined the lawsuit in 2013, according the Associated Press, and could have sought three times the amount of damages awarded, which could have been around $100 million.
“While I believe that their lawsuit against me was meritless and unfair, and while I am spending a lot of money to resolve it, I have since 2013 tried to take full responsibility for my mistakes and inappropriate conduct, and make amends wherever possible,” Armstrong said in a statement to the AP. “I rode my heart out for the Postal cycling team, and was always especially proud to wear the red, white and blue eagle on my chest when competing in the Tour de France. Those memories are very real and mean a lot to me.”
The U.S. Postal Service paid the team $32 million, of which Armstrong got around $13.5 million the AP reported. Armstrong’s attorneys claimed that the U.S. Postal Service benefited from the sponsorship, including media exposure.
In a televised confession in 2013, Armstrong admitted to doping during the seven Tour de France races he won from 1999 to 2005. Six of those years were under the banner of the U.S. Postal Service, according to the Times. In 2012, after the United States Anti-Doping Agency accused him and his teammates of doping, he was stripped of his Tour de France titles.
Landis, who was a whistleblower in the doping scandal and stripped of his 2006 Tour de France title for doping, is eligible to up to 25% of the damages as the whistleblower along with $1.65 million in attorney fees.
Armstrong has already had to “pay more than $20 million in damages and settlements in a series of lawsuits,” according to the AP. In 2012, the federal government dropped a criminal case against the former cyclist.
“This ends all litigation against Armstrong related to his 2013 admission that during his career as a professional cyclist he had used performance enhancing substances,” according to a statement from Armstrong’s attorney.