Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong has reached a $US5 million settlement with the US government and Floyd Landis before the whistleblower lawsuit could go to trial.
The long-running lawsuit against Armstrong — originally filed by former teammate Floyd Landis in 2010 — has been settled ahead of the May 7 trial.
The lawsuit alleged that Armstrong and his team had defrauded the government by taking the US Postal Service sponsorship dollars while wittingly gaining an unfair advantage through systemic doping.
The US government joined the suit in 2013 after Landis’s testimony pressured the 7-time Tour de France winner (since stripped) into confessing on television he used performance-enhancing drugs throughout his career.
The US Postal Service sponsored the Armstrong led team for six of his seven tour victories, and the government could have sought “treble” damages potentially worth $100 million.
But Armstrong has avoided the matter going to trial, with the two parties agreeing to the $5 million settlement figure on Thursday.
As the original claimant, Landis is eligible to claim $1.1 million of that, and Armstrong will also pay the $1.65 million to cover his former teammates’ legal fees.
“I am glad to resolve this case and move forward with my life,” Armstrong said in a statement. “I’m looking forward to devoting myself to the many great things in my life – my five kids, my wife, my podcast, several exciting writing and film projects, my work as a cancer survivor, and my passion for sports and competition.
“There is a lot to look forward to. I am particularly glad to have made peace with the Postal Service. While I believe that their lawsuit against me was without merit and unfair, I have since 2013 tried to take full responsibility for my mistakes, and make amends wherever possible.
“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.”
Despite having already forked out $21 million in damages and $15 million in legal fees over a number of past lawsuits, the Australian Financial Review reports Armstrong still has a real estate and business portfolio worth millions.