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Landis files whistle-blower lawsuit

By:
Barry Ryan
Published:
September 04, 2010, 10:43 BST,
Updated:
September 04, 2010, 12:04 BST
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News, Sunday, September 5, 2010
Floyd Landis was helping out at the OUCH-Bahati Foundation VIP tent in California.

Floyd Landis was helping out at the OUCH-Bahati Foundation VIP tent in California.

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Lawsuit filed under federal False Claims Act

The Wall Street Journal has reported that Floyd Landis has a filed a whistle-blower lawsuit under the U.S. False Claims Act, which allows citizens to sue on behalf of the U.S. government if they believe that it has been defrauded. The precise nature of Landis’ allegations is not known as the lawsuit is sealed.

The U.S. government can choose to intervene in Landis’ lawsuit and pursue the case on its own behalf, while Landis would collect up to 30 percent of the money recovered by the government if the lawsuit were successful.

Earlier this year, Landis made allegations of systematic doping at the U.S. Postal Service team and a federal investigation into the matter is currently ongoing, led by Jeff Novitzsky of the Food and Drug Administration. As an independent federal agency, the U.S. Postal Service sponsored the team from 1996 to the end of 2004. Between 2001 and 2004, it paid out €30.6 million in sponsorship to the team’s management company.

Both Landis and the U.S. Justice Department declined to comment on the lawsuit when approached by the Wall Street Journal, while a spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service stated: “Since this matter is under review by the Department of Justice, the Postal Service will have nothing to say until this review is completed.”

Meanwhile, speaking to the Wall Street Journal, a spokesman for former U.S. Postal Service rider Lance Armstrong was critical of Landis’ lawsuit. “What remains a mystery is why the government would devote a penny of the taxpayer’s money to help Floyd Landis,” he said. “This news that Floyd Landis is in this for the money confirms everything we all knew about Landis.”

Armstrong’s spokesman also confirmed to the Wall Street Journal that Armstrong’s lawyers had recently met with federal prosecutors from Novitzsky’s investigation in Los Angeles.
 

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