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Johan Bruyneel told to repay $1.2m as government case that also involved Lance Armstrong over misuse of US Postal sponsorship funds ends

Belgian who managed Lance Armstrong to seven Tour de France wins also fined $369,000 by federal judge

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 joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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Simon E | 5 years ago
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Good. The bloke is an arsehole and has no place in sport.

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