Federal prosecutors said Friday that they had closed their investigation of Lance Armstrong without charging him, nearly two years after they began looking into allegations that he and his cycling teammates committed a variety of possible crimes by doping.
The possible crimes being investigated included the defrauding of the government, drug trafficking, money laundering and conspiracy involving Armstrong and other top cyclists. In particular, the authorities were exploring whether money from the United States Postal Service, the primary team sponsor for the first four of Armstrong’s Tour de France wins, was used to buy performance-enhancing drugs.
André Birotte Jr., the United States attorney for the Central District of California, announced the end of the investigation, which involved several federal agencies, in a brief statement. He did not cite a reason for the decision and declined to comment further.
“The United States Attorney determined that a public announcement concerning the closing of the investigation was warranted by numerous reports about the investigation in media outlets around the world,” the statement said. A grand jury in Los Angeles had been convened as part of the investigation.
Armstrong, who won the Tour de France a record seven times, has always emphatically denied all accusations that he used illegal performance-enhancing drugs. But his first Tour de France win in 1999 followed the event’s largest doping scandal and ever since he has fought suspicions that his Tour titles were tainted by drug use. But he has never tested positive for any illegal substance. (At the 1999 Tour, he failed a test for a corticosteroid but produced a doctor’s note indicating that the drug had been used for therapeutic reasons.)
“I am gratified to learn that the U.S. Attorney’s Office is closing its investigation,” Armstrong said in a statement. “It is the right decision and I commend them for reaching it. I look forward to continuing my life as a father, a competitor, and an advocate in the fight against cancer without this distraction.”