Los Angeles (AFP) – Lance Armstrong has agreed to pay $5 million in order to settle his looming federal fraud case stemming from his use of performance-enhancing drugs during the Tour de France, his lawyers confirmed Thursday.
The former cycling superstar was due to face a trial next month over claims that he defrauded the US government when he doped while racing for his United States Postal Service-sponsored team.
“Lance Armstrong today announced that he has settled the long-running False Claims Act case brought against him by former cyclist Floyd Landis and the U. S. Postal Service,” a statement from Armstrong lawyer Elliot Peters said.
“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.”
The Washington Post reported Armstrong will also pay $1.65 million to cover the legal costs of former team-mate and whistleblower Landis.
The Postal Service and Landis had sought around $100 million in damages from Armstrong in the trial which was due to get under way on May 7.
“I am glad to resolve this case and move forward with my life,” Armstrong said in a statement.
“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.”
The fallen US cycling star had battled back from cancer to win cycling’s most prestigious race, the Tour de France, a record seven consecutive times between 1999 and 2005.
Although rumours of drug use swirled around Armstrong throughout his career, he never failed a test.
However his reputation imploded when the United States Anti-Doping Agency wrapped up an investigation which concluded he had been at the heart of a sophisticated doping program throughout his career.
Armstrong later confessed to using performance-enhancing drugs and was banned from all competitions for life and stripped of his seven Tour titles.