The company, Tailwind Sports Corp., received and spent tens of millions of dollars in U.S. government sponsorship money under contracts that included language prohibiting team management from tolerating doping. If management encouraged doping without the knowledge of government paymasters, Tailwind owners may have committed financial fraud, legal experts have told SF Weekly. Armstrong's statement puts the onus of purported financial fraud against the U.S. government on Tailwind's majority owner, San Francisco financier Thom Weisel.
Secretary of State
used Lance Armstrong's Austin Business Address (click on image for larger version)
It wasn't my company," Armstrong was quoted as saying. "I can't make it clear enough to you. I don't know. I didn't know the company. I didn't have a position. I didn't have an equity stake. I didn't have a profit stake. I didn't have a seat on the board. I was a rider on the team. I can't be any clearer than that."
For years, Armstrong was reported to be among the owners of Tailwind Sports. The company was founded by Thom Weisel, the owner of a San Francisco-based financial services company and a major donor to USA Cycling. Armstrong's lawyer, Bill Stapleton, and others in Armstrong's circle reportedly also gained equity in the team over the years.
"We took over running the team in '04," Armstrong said of the Austin-based company Capital Sports & Entertainment, which, he said, gained equity in the team in 2007. The two leaders of that company are Stapleton, a former vice president of the United States Olympic Committee, and Bart Knaggs, a former president of Tailwind Sports. Both are longtime Armstrong associates.
|Excerpt from book|
One way or another, Armstrong's statement seemed to have a bit of a rats-jumping-from-a-ship flavor, as it suggests that the star cyclist shouldn't be held liable for any possible defrauding of the U.S. government by Tailwind Sports. His long time patron Thom Weisel should.
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