Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The latest on the Lance Armstrong investigation

Note: click this link for a list of all other posts on the Lance Armstrong fraud investigation.

The NY Times reported yesterday that a grand jury issued subpoenas for several people that Jeffrey Novitzky would like to talk to about the accusations made by Floyd Landis regarding Lance Armstrong's involvement in doping. The article does not list who was subpoened but it does say that several are in the Tour de France right now and that at least two former teammates from Lance's U.S. Postal team have already talked to Novitzky.

We can probably guess who many of the the current Tour riders are that have been issued subpoenas. For sure Levi Leipheimer, Dave Zabriskie, and George Hincapie will get subpoenaed unless they have already talked. My guess is that Novitzky has obtained some corroboration of Landis's story from those he has already spoken to or he would not be getting subpoena help from a grand jury.

The investigation appears to be focusing on the potential that government funds were used to purchase doping products. Armstrong's sponsor around the millenium was the U.S. Postal Service. Apparently, if Novitzky can prove that Landis's allegations are true it could mean Armstrong and Bruyneel broke the law by using the U.S. Postal Service team for illegal doping.

Interestingly, today's NY Times reported that Lance had the following to say about this matter:
“The most glaring thing is the misconception that I was the owner of the team,” Armstrong said before Stage 10 of the Tour de France, in which he was in 31st place over all. “That’s completely untrue. No ownership, none at all.”
 Armstrong, a seven-time winner of the Tour, said he did not know the people who issued his paychecks, only that the company Tailwind Sports had signed them. He said he had “absolutely” no knowledge of how Tailwind used its funding.

“It wasn’t my company,” he said. “I can’t make it clear enough to you. I don’t know. I didn’t know the company. I didn’t have a position. I didn’t have an equity stake. I didn’t have a profit stake. I didn’t have a seat on the board. I was a rider on the team. I can’t be any clearer than that.”

When asked why he had not cleared up misconceptions about his role on the team years ago, Armstrong said, “I’m correcting that now.”

...The authorities are particularly interested in the people who dealt with the finances of the Postal Service squad, which was owned by Tailwind Sports.

Jeff Novitzky, a Food and Drug Administration agent who is the lead investigator in the Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative steroids case, is in charge of the case and is trying to determine whether Armstrong, his teammates, the owners or managers of his former cycling teams conspired to defraud their sponsors by doping to improve their performances and garner more money and prizes. Authorities want to know whether money from the Postal Service, an independent agency of the United States government and the main sponsor of Armstrong’s team from 1996 to 2004, was used to fund systematic doping during that time. 
I find it interesting that Lance is suddenly trying to clear this ownership issue up. It sounds like he is concerned that Tailwind Sports will be shown to have given money that was used for doping. Looks like Novitzky will be using investigators with forensic accounting skills to me...

1 comment:

  1. That's not the only thing Lance might be investigated for. Seems there may be some questions about the Livestrong Foundation and how that money is used. Only time will tell.