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Firm wants Armstrong to repay bonus millions

LOS ANGELES -- Dallas insurance company SCA Promotions is demanding the return of millions of dollars in bonuses paid to Lance Armstrong now that the shamed cyclist's Tour de France victories have been expunged.

“Mr. Armstrong is no longer the official winner of any Tour de France races and as a result it is inappropriate and improper for him to retain any bonus payments made by SCA,” Jeffrey Dorough, general counsel for the firm, said Monday in a telephone interview.

On Monday in Geneva, the International Cycling Union (UCI) officially backed the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency's decision to effectively erase Armstrong's cycling record, including the seven Tour de France titles he won from 1999-2005.

USADA this month released a devastating dossier on Armstrong, putting him at the heart of the biggest doping program in the history of sport.

Dorough confirmed that SCA was seeking US$7.5 million paid out to Armstrong after a 2006 arbitration proceeding, which included a US$5 million bonus as well as legal fees and interest.

During Armstrong's era of dominance, U.S. Postal Service team parent company Tailwind Sports took out a policy with SCA, paying a premium to cover bonuses paid to Armstrong for his Tour de France victories.

When SCA withheld a US$5 million bonus due after Armstrong's sixth Tour de France win in 2004 because of the doping allegations made in the book “LA Confidential,” Armstrong took successful legal action.

Armstrong won that case, on the basis that the original contract between SCA and Tailwind Sports did not include any stipulations about doping.

Velonation reported that SCA in fact paid a total of US$12 million to Armstrong in bonuses over the years.

“The only figure I can confirm is the US$7.5 million paid to Mr. Armstrong in 2006 pursuant to the arbitration,” Dorough said, but added: “Any sum that was paid by SCA would be in play.”

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