By Agence France Presse
French prosecutors have opened an investigation into the doping allegations against six-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong that were originally outlined in the book “L.A. Confidential – Les Secrets de Lance Armstrong.”
Officials were quoted in Thursday’s edition of Le Parisien that the investigation stems from a magistrate’s interview with Armstrong’s former Irish soigneur Emma O’Reilly, who was reported to have confirmed the allegations of the Texan using the banned blood booster EPO (erythropoietin) she made in the book, written by Sunday Times of London sports journalist David Walsh and former L’Equipe writer Pierre Ballester. Thus far, the book has only been published in France.
Armstrong denies any wrongdoing and has embarked on a multi-front legal battle against the authors and publishers of the book.
He is suing the authors for defamation, claiming two million euros in damages. Armstrong recently scored a victory in British courts, when a judge ruled against the Sunday Times defense strategy. The case in the U.K. does not involve the book itself, but rather a newspaper account of the charges it contains. The article, which appeared in the Sunday Times, was not written by Walsh or Ballester.
Armstrong is also involved in an ongoing legal dispute with his U.S. insurers over a $5 million bonus the company has withheld since “L.A. Confidential” was published.
“This preliminary enquiry has only just begun and it would be premature to draw any conclusions, one way or another,” the Annecy prosecutors’ office told Le Parisien.
The enquiry was transferred to Annecy from the Paris office which looked into the Cofidis scandal last year which led to the suspension of Britain’s world time-trial champion David Millar.