By Duncan Mackay

Lance Armstrong with hand on headFebruary 8 - SCA Promotions, the insurer who covered the bonuses for three of Lance Armstrong's seven Tour de France victories, have formally launched legal proceedings to try to get their money back.

The suit, filed in Texas state court in Dallas, alleges Armstrong and his management company, Tailwind Sports, defrauded SCA into paying $12 million (£7.5 million/€9 million) in bonuses and interest for his 2002, 2003 and 2004 Tour de France wins by lying about his use of performance-enhancing drugs during those events.

SCA Promotions had previously lost an arbitration hearing against Armstrong after they refused to honour the bonus for Armstrong's sixth Tour win in 2004, totalling $5 million (£3 million/€4 million), because it claimed Armstrong was not a clean rider.

But Armstrong last month admitted during a televised interview with Oprah Winfrey that he had used drugs during all seven of his Tour de France victories. 

"Lance Armstrong cheated to win all of his Tour de France victories," SCA cief executive Officer Robert Hamman said in a statement.

"He has admitted as much on national TV.

"As a result of Lance Armstrong's unjustly achieved victories and related activities, SCA paid $12,120,000 to Tailwind Sports Inc.

"SCA also suffered reputational damage and substantial loss of business."

Lance Armstrong during SCA arbitration hearingSCA Promotions were forced to pay Armstrong a $5 million bonus after he denied allegations during a hearing that he had used drugs during his victory at the Tour de France in 2004

SCA paid the $5 million (£3 million/€4 million) performance bonus, plus $2.5 million (£1.6 million/€1.9 million) in interest and attorney fees, as part of a 2006 legal settlement after they lost the arbitration hearing.

But Armstrong plans to fight the action, his attorney Mark Fabiani claimed. 

That agreement's "plain words bars SCA from ever revisiting the settlement it entered into in 2006," he said.

Arrmstrong is already being sued by The Sunday Times for £1 million ($1.6 million/€1.2 million) after he successfully won a libel action against them nine years ago following an article written by David Walsh. 

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