Floyd Landis files 'whistle-blower lawsuit' - report

Claims that the US government has been defrauded

Floyd Landis, former teammate of seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong, has filed a federal "whistle-blower" lawsuit, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

Citing anonymous sources, the newspaper reported that Landis filed a suit under the US federal False Claims Act, which allows Americans to sue on behalf of the government alleging the government has been defrauded.

According to the Journal, the lawsuit is currently sealed so its exact contents are not known.

But in the article posted on its website the newspaper noted that Landis and Armstrong were teammates on the squad sponsored by the US Postal Service, a government entity.

Landis has alleged that some of the team's riders, including himself and Armstrong, used performance enhancing drugs - a charge Armstrong has strenuously denied.

"Such a lawsuit is likely to claim a fraud was committed against the Postal Service in relation to the alleged doping," the Wall Street Journal wrote.

Landis won the Tour de France in 2006 but was stripped of the title after testing positive for synthetic testosterone.

This year he ended years of denials and admitted he doped, and he accused Armstrong and others in the cycling world of doing the same.

Armstrong won six of his seven Tour de France titles with the US Postal Service team.

Landis's claims have already sparked a reported probe by US authorities into doping in professional cycling.

Federal investigators, who have met with Landis, are investigating whether Armstrong or anyone else committed fraud or conspiracy in connection with the alleged doping.

Under the whistle-blower law, the government can intervene in Landis's suit, essentially pursuing the case on its own behalf. If it doesn't, Landis is free to carry on the action on his own.

As a whistle-blower, Landis could collect 30 percent of any money the government recovers if fraud is determined.

"This news that Floyd Landis is in this for the money reconfirms everything we all knew about Landis," Armstrong spokesman Mark Fabiani said Friday in a statement.

"By his own admission, he is a serial liar, an epic cheater, and a swindler who raised and took almost a million dollars from his loyal fans based on his lies.

"What remains a complete mystery is why the government would devote a penny of the taxpayer's money to help Floyd Landis further his vile, cheating ambitions. And all aimed directly at Lance Armstrong, a man who earned every victory and passed every test while working for cancer survivors all over the world."

© AFP 2010

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