A French court handed disgraced former U.S. cyclist Floyd Landis a suspended one-year jail sentence for his part in a cyberespionage scheme against the anti-doping laboratory that proved he cheated at the 2006 Tour de France.
The sentence is another layer of shame for the 2006 Tour de France winner, who was subsequently stripped of the title after the Chatenay-Malabry lab in France found excessive levels of testosterone in his blood. Much like that scandal, which rocked the international sports community, the events that put Landis and his former coach Arnie Baker in their current predicament read like a made-for-TV thriller.
The case, Cycling News reported, starts in November 2006, several months after that year's Tour de France had concluded. The anti-doping lab contacted police after discovering that someone had used a Trojan Horse to put spyware on the lab's computer network. During the hack, which was traced back to Landis' coach, information from Landis' file was taken, which the cyclist used in a bid to clear his name and reputation by showing sports authorities that he had been clean all along and the lab work had been flawed. Baker was given the same sentence as Landis.
Last year, Landis finally admitted to doping after years of denials.
The story could very well end here, but the international hacking plot extended beyond Landis and Baker, and ultimately implicated three other defendants.
French authorities in 2009 arrested hacker Alain Quiros, a French national living in Morocco, for hacking into the Chatenay-Malabry lab. Quiros said he'd been paid a few thousand dollars to infiltrate not just the anti-doping lab's system, but also the networks of several other European corporations including Greenpeace France, all on the orders of Theirry Lorho, a former French government secret agent and head of the Paris-based investigative firm Kargus Consultants.
Lorho, prosecutors said, passed the stolen files — Landis' included — to former paratrooper Jean-Francois Dominguez, who then handed them off to another person, who has not yet been identified. The stolen and forged files made their way from this final person to the media, and formed the basis for Landis' plea to clear his name for the Tour de France disqualification.
Quiros was given a two-year prison sentence, 18 months of which will be suspended, and ordered to pay a fine of $4,000 euros. The court gave Lorho a three-year sentence, two of which will be suspended, and ordered him to pay a $4,000 euro fine.