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Court date for Landis computer hacking appeal set

By:
Cycling News
Published:
March 29, 2012, 3:03 BST,
Updated:
March 29, 2012, 4:21 BST
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, March 29, 2012
Floyd Landis during his 2007 doping case.

Floyd Landis during his 2007 doping case.

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Former pro has always denied involvement

Floyd Landis' appeal against a 12-month suspended sentence for computer hacking will be heard in Versailles from November 7 to 9 later this year, according to French newspaper L'Equipe.

The once 2006 Tour de France champion was convicted in November 2011 of ordering the hacking into computers of WADA-accredited labratory, Chatenay-Malabry, but was found guilty only of receiving the hacked documents after prosecutors could establish no link between the cyclist and the confessed hackers. He could have been handed an 18 month sentence but was given 12 months.

AFP reported that, "prosecutors say Landis and coach Arnie Baker masterminded a plot to hack into the lab's computer system to obtain documents as they sought to defend the cyclist's name."

Landis tested positive for testosterone during the 2006 Tour de France. His doping controls were handled by the Chatenay-Malabry laboratory. In November 2006, the lab reported that its computer systems had been infected with a "Trojan Horse" virus, which was used by someone to access the lab's confidential documents. The lab said that data had been removed or changed, allegedly in an attempt to discredit the work of the organisation.

An email carrying the virus was alleged to have been sent from a computer with the same IP address as that of Landis' coach Arnie Baker. Both Landis and Baker denied any involvement in the hacking, but authorities maintain that the pair made use of pilfered documents in Landis' defence argument.

The investigation by the French Interior Ministry in 2009 led to the arrest of a French national living in Morocco named Alain Quiros, who confessed to hacking into the lab, according to the New York Times. He said he'd been paid several thousand euros to hack into the AFLD computer as well as several other European corporations including Greenpeace France - the hacking scheme was instigated by a former French intelligence agent Thierry Lorho, head of Kargus Consultants.

Lorho reportedly handed off the data lifted from the lab computer to a man named Jean-François Dominguez, who then delivered it to another person who has not yet been identified. The confidential data then made its way to the news media and was used by Landis and Baker to form the basis of his defence against charges of doping.

It is not yet known if Landis will travel to France for the appeal, with the American previously revealing reservations regarding the trans-Atlantic crossing.

"My concern about traveling to France is that they may not allow me to return home," said Landis suggesting that the French authorities might like to see him behind bars.


 

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