This article was originally published on Cyclingnews.com.
Floyd Landis has been convicted in a French court on charges he obtained documents that had been hacked from the computers of a French laboratory and given a suspended jail sentence.
The once 2006 Tour de France champion was charged with ordering the hacking into computers of a WADA-accredited lab, but was found guilty only of receiving the hacked documents after prosecutors could establish no link between the cyclist and the confessed hackers. He could have been handed an 18 month sentence but was given 12 months.
AFP reported that “prosecutors say Landis and coach Arnie Baker masterminded a plot to hack into the lab’s computer system to obtain documents as they sought to defend the cyclist’s name.” Last year Landis was issued with an arrest warrant but remained in the US.
Landis tested positive for testosterone during the 2006 Tour de France. His doping controls were handled by the Chatenay-Malabry laboratory. In November 2006, the lab reported that its computer systems had been infected with a “Trojan Horse” virus, which was used by someone to access the lab’s confidential documents. The lab said that data had been removed or changed, allegedly in an attempt to discredit the work of the organisation.
An email carrying the virus was alleged to have been sent from a computer with the same IP address as that of Landis’ coach Arnie Baker. Both Landis and Baker denied any involvement in the hacking, but authorities maintain that the pair made use of pilfered documents in Landis’ defense argument.
The investigation by the French Interior Ministry in 2009 led to the arrest of a French national living in Morocco named Alain Quiros, who confessed to hacking into the lab, according to the New York Times. He said he’d been paid several thousand euros to hack into the AFLD computer as well as several other European corporations including Greenpeace France – the hacking scheme was instigated by a former French intelligence agent Thierry Lorho, head of Kargus Consultants.
Lorho reportedly handed off the data lifted from the lab computer to a man named Jean-François Dominguez, who then delivered it to another person who has not yet been identified. The confidential data then made its way to the news media and was used by Landis and Baker to form the basis of his defense against charges of doping. Last spring, the French subpoenaed Landis and his coach Arnie Baker to travel to France and testify on this matter. Neither of them went to France.
You can read Landis’ response to the sentence in a Cyclingnews exclusive here.