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January 18, 2013updated 19 Jan 2013 1:21am

Sunday Times: £1m fraud claim ‘strengthened’ after Lance Armstrong’s Oprah Winfrey confession

By Andrew Pugh

  • Sunday Times: 'We watched Lance Armstrong's interview with interest'
  • Paper seeking to recoup 2006 costs plus interest
  • Case is 'stronger' after Oprah confession

The Sunday Times today warned Lance Armstrong it will “vigorously” pursue its fraud case against the disgraced cyclist following his first public admission that he used performance-enhancing drugs during all seven of his Tour de France victories.

After years of denials and aggressive legal action against those that made doping allegations, Armstrong confessed to US chat show Oprah Winfrey last night: "I view this situation as one big lie."

Armstrong, who was stripped of all his Tour de France titles in October, admitted using the blood-boosting agent EPO, blood doping, testosterone, cortisone and human growth hormone.

In 2006 The Sunday Times reached an out-of-court settlement understood to have cost publisher News International around £600,000.

Armstrong’s defamation related to a 2004 article by then deputy sports editor Alan English about allegations made in the book L.A. Confidentiel, written by the paper’s chief sports writer David Walsh.

Following the settlement Armstrong released a statement through his lawyers Schillings saying: "I always said that the article falsely alleged that I was guilty of doping. The article was based on untrue allegations, which are without substance."

The Sunday Times is now demanding a return of the settlement payment plus interest, as well as its costs in defending the case, with the total claim likely to exceed £1m.

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Publisher News International told Press Gazette that it believes its case has been strengthened following Armstrong’s confession.

“We watched Lance Armstrong's interview with interest and noted his numerous admissions regarding taking performance-enhancing drugs,” said a spokesman.

“The Sunday Times believes that our case for recovering the £1m he obtained from us by fraud is now even stronger. We will be pursuing that case vigorously.”

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