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Facing lawsuits, Armstrong promises openness and transparency

BOULDER, Colorado (VN) — After a judge ordered Lance Armstrong to answer specific questions regarding his performance-enhancing drug use, the former Tour de France winner told VeloNews he would be open and honest, and that this wouldn’t be the only time he would be under oath in the coming year.

Tim Sulak, a Texas district judge, recently ordered Armstrong to testify in connection with a lawsuit brought by Nebraska-based Acceptance Insurance Holding, which seeks to recover $3 million in bonuses paid to the cyclist during his first three Tour wins, from 1999 to 2001.

Acceptance is far from the only entity going after the Texan, who the United States Anti-Doping Agency busted last fall for using banned substances.

After years of harsh denials, Armstrong admitted on national television to using PEDs during his Tour wins, which have been stripped as a result of the investigation — though he was roundly criticized for not fully revealing the scope of who enabled his doping.

The USADA report brought about a legal flurry. Last month Armstrong settled with the Sunday Times for a confidential amount. In 2006 the Times was forced to pay Armstrong about $500,000 after it published an article suggesting he was using performance-enhancing drugs. After his confession, the Times sued Armstrong for the money, plus $1.1 million in costs.

According to the Associated Press, Acceptance lawyers will seek information dating back to 1995, from delivery of and payment for banned drugs, to who knew of his activities and if he paid off UCI leadership.

Armstrong’s attorneys have called the Acceptance suit a malicious “fishing expedition.” The trial is scheduled to begin in April 2014.

“I will be under oath about five times in the next 12 months. My answers will all be the same. One hundred percent honest and transparent,” Armstrong wrote in an email to VeloNews.

SCA Promotions, a Texas-based insurance company, is also going after Armstrong for $12 million, claiming it deserves bonuses it paid him back due to the fact his wins were achieved with the help of PEDs.

And the United States Department of Justice joined another lawsuit, the whistleblower filing of former teammate Floyd Landis, in February.

That suit, filed under the Federal False Claims Act, could cleave a maximum of $90 million from Armstrong and others, though it seems unlikely the final figure would be that high. The investment by the United States Postal Service was about $30 million.

Defendants in that suit include Tailwind Sports and Montgomery Sports, owned by San Francisco financier Weisel, as well as Austin-based Capital Sports & Entertainment, which lists Armstrong, former manager Johan Bruyneel, Bill Stapleton, and Bart Knaggs among its principals.

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