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Should he ever return to American soil, former U.S. Postal Service team director Johan Bruyneel will find himself on the hook for over $1.5 million. A judge ruled against Bruyneel on Thursday in a lawsuit brought by Floyd Landis and the federal government, the same case that saw Lance Armstrong settle for a total of over $6 million this spring.
Landis filed a whistleblower suit back in 2010 that the government subsequently joined. The suit alleged that Armstrong, Bruyneel, and now-defunct management company Tailwind Sports were “unjustly enriched” at the expense of the U.S. Postal Service, which sponsored a team with Armstrong as star rider and Bruyneel as manager from 1996 until 2004.
“The government has substantiated that Bruyneel unjustly received $1,228,700 in benefits,” said Judge Christopher Cooper, according to a report in USA Today. “The Court will thus enter judgment for the government against Bruyneel on its unjust enrichment claim and award it $1,228,700 in restitution.”
Additionally, Bruyneel must pay $369,000 in civil penalties.
USA Today reports that Cooper referred to the ruling as the “finish line of a lawsuit brought by Floyd Landis and the federal government.”
The federal government may find itself waiting — possibly indefinitely — to recover that money, however. Bruyneel currently resides in Europe, and it is unlikely that the judgment against him will be enforced overseas.