The United States government is seeking additional funds through a civil default judgement from Lance Armstrong’s longtime manager, Johan Bruyneel, as part of the final steps of a lawsuit that alleges Armstrong defrauded his sponsor, the U.S. Postal Service, according to a USA Today report.
Bruyneel was with Armstrong for all of his seven Tour de France wins, and the government claims he is personally liable for at least $1.2 million.
“Bruyneel was unjustly enriched by his fraud and is liable to the United States for the payments it made to him,” the government stated in the court filings Monday.
In 2013, the U.S. government sued Armstrong, Bruyneel, and team owner Tailwind Sports for $100 million, and that case settled in April with Armstrong paying just $7 million.
Of that $7 million, $1.65 million went to paying former teammate and accuser Floyd Landis’ legal expenses, and $5 million went to the federal government – but of that $5 million, $1.1 million also went back to Landis for blowing the whistle on Armstrong.
Judgment in feds’ favor likely to be symbolic
The Postal Service paid $32.3 million to Armstrong’s teams from 2000-2004, and the settlement payout likely does not even cover the expenses used to pursue Armstrong in court.
“Because Bruyneel and Tailwind defaulted, the well-pleaded allegations in the complaint are deemed admitted by them,” the government said.
Bruyneel is said to have received $2 million in salary and bonuses from Tailwind, and by extension the Postal Service, between 1999 and 2004. However, even if the government wins the case, there might be an additional obstacle to actually obtaining the money: Bruyneel is a Belgian citizen and has resided overseas for years, and a default judgement such as this is unlikely to be enforceable.
The government, along with Landis’ lawyer Paul Scott, is also seeking $451,000 from Tailwind and Bruyneel. Should they win that judgment, it likely would only be symbolic, as Tailwind is now defunct.
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