News International considering Armstrong libel costs claim

News International is considering going after scandal-hit cyclist Lance Armstrong for the costs of a libel case dating back to 2006.

The publisher reached an out-of-court settlement, thought to be around £600,000, with the seven-times Tour De France winner after The Sunday Times ran an article linking Armstrong to doping.

Armstrong was represented in that case by Schillings partner John Kelly.

But after the United States Anti-Doping Agency USADA announced it was banning Armstrong for life from the sport and stripping him of his titles, The Sunday Times has revealed that it is considering legal action.

The paper’s in-house lawyer Pia Sarma is weighing up whether to try to recover the costs it incurred and even pursue him for fraud.

However, the newspaper may be at the back of a long queue when it comes to trying to claim back money from Armstrong and sponsors such as Nike have begun to distance themselves from the cyclist. In addition, the costs of bringing a potentially lengthy legal action may outweigh the amount recovered.

A spokeswoman for The Sunday Times confirmed that it is “considering taking action to recover money spent on a libel case Armstrong bought and to pursue him for fraud”.