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Arbitration panel rules against Armstrong in fraud case

Jim Vertuno Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas – An arbitration panel ordered Lance Armstrong and Tailwind Sports Corp. to pay $10 million in a fraud dispute with a promotions company for what it called an “unparalleled pageant of international perjury, fraud and conspiracy” that covered up his use of performance-enhancing drugs.

Dallas-based SCA Promotions announced the 2-1 decision against the former cyclist when its lawyers said Monday they had asked Texas’ 116th Civil District Court in Dallas to confirm the arbitration ruling, dated Feb. 4. The panel included a neutral chairman, who ruled in favor of SCA, and one person selected by each side.

Tim Herman, a lawyer for Armstrong, insisted the ruling is contrary to Texas law and predicted it will be overturned by a judge.

SCA paid Armstrong and Tailwind, the since-dissolved team management company, about $12 million in bonuses during Armstrong’s career, when he won seven Tour de France titles. Those victories were stripped after Armstrong and his U.S. Postal Service teams were found to have used banned PEDs.

SCA disputed the bonuses in arbitration in 2005, and the case produced the foundation of the doping evidence later used against Armstrong. Despite allegations of cheating, Armstrong continued to deny doping and the company settled him and paid him $7 million in 2006.

The company sued Armstrong to get its money back after Armstrong’s cheating was exposed by a report from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency and a televised confession interview with Oprah Winfrey.

The case was sent back to the original arbitration panel of independent chairman Richard Faulkner, SCA selection Richard Chernick and Armstrong pick Ted Lyon.

In the 2005 arbitration hearings, Armstrong testified under oath that he did not use PEDs.

“Perjury must never be profitable,” the majority wrote in the new decision. “Tailwind Sports Corp. and Lance Armstrong have justly earned wide public condemnation. That is an inadequate deterrent. Deception demands real, meaningful sanctions.”

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