BOULDER, Colorado (VN) — Contrary to letters that were sent out by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, there is no true investigation into Floyd Landis regarding the money he raised for his legal defense against 2006 doping charges.
In a January 14 letter sent to donors to the Floyd Fairness Fund, the bureau identified contributors as victims of a federal crime, and noted that “the case is currently under investigation,” leading to speculation about the government’s interest in Landis.
On Wednesday, Phillip L.B. Halpern, an assistant U.S. Attorney, said there was no meaningful investigation into Landis but that the FBI is simply assessing who is owed money by the cyclist, who is to pay back $478,354 in funds he raised through meetings, appeals, charity rides and online videos. According to the FBI, donations were raised in “large part, on his consistent denial of having used PEDs during his professional cycling career.” Landis admitted to doping in 2010.
“I’m making it clear on the record, no,” Halpern said of an investigation. “To the extent that an investigation is discussed in the [FBI] letter, it is one that is simply confined to confirming who the appropriate victims were and the appropriate amount of monies that they’ve lost.”
Landis declined comment on Wednesday when contacted by VeloNews.
The San Diego branch of the FBI previously posted a summary on its website detailing its case against Landis and his agreement to make restitution.
The cyclist spent much of 2006-2008 fighting his positive test for testosterone, and twice unsuccessfully fought charges brought forth by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), first in September 2007, in front of the American Arbitration Association (AAA), and again at a hearing in September 2008 before the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS).
Landis ultimately served a two-year ban, returning to competition in 2009, though he was never the same rider. He set the cycling world ablaze in 2010, as he admitted to taking a laundry list of banned substances over his career and pointed the finger at Lance Armstrong via a letter to top cycling officials. He retired in 2011.
That correspondence ultimately helped broaden an 18-month federal investigation into Armstrong and his U.S. Postal team. That investigation was later dropped, but the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency picked up where it left off, releasing a report that saw Armstrong lose seven Tour titles and sponsorship deals, and publically confess to doping.
Landis also has filed a federal whistleblower suit against Armstrong and associates, which the federal government may join. If Landis were to win his suit, he could stand to gain a percentage, up to 25 percent, of three times what the Postal Service spent on the team — roughly $90 million in total.