WENGEN, Switzerland (AP) — The former president of cycling’s governing body says there was no conflict of interest when he invested in a brokerage account later linked to Lance Armstrong’s team owner.
It was “cynical” for U.S. Anti-Doping Agency CEO Travis Tygart to suggest to The Wall Street Journal that the business relationship “stinks to high heaven,” Hein Verbruggen told The Associated Press on Thursday.
“Nothing illegal has happened, or ever did. The comments of Mr. Tygart, I would call them cynical almost,” Verbruggen said in a telephone interview.
Verbruggen confirmed details in the newspaper article of his investment, while he was the International Cycling Union president, with broker Jim Ochowicz from 1999-2004. Verbruggen is now honorary president of the cycling group.
“I have given Jim a small amount of money to manage for me, and he moved to (work for) Thom Weisel” in 2001, said the Dutch official, whose 14-year leadership of the governing body ended in 2005.
Ochowicz managed the Motorola team Armstrong rode for in the mid-1990s. He then worked as a broker before joining investment bank Thomas Weisel Partners, and confirmed the fact of Verbruggen’s investment to The Wall Street Journal.
Ochowicz was elected president of the USA Cycling governing body from 2002-08. He is president of the BMC Racing team, which includes 2011 Tour de France winner Cadel Evans and leading U.S. rider Tejay van Garderen.
Weisel was a major financial backer of Tailwind Sports, which owned the team sponsored by U.S. Postal Service when Armstrong won his first five Tour de France races. He has been stripped of all seven victories from 1999-2005.
“I didn’t even know who Thom Weisel was,” Verbruggen told the AP, referring to his initial investment with Ochowicz two years before the account transferred to Weisel’s bank. “There is no relationship whatsoever. You give a guy that you like a small amount of money to manage and 12 years later I end up in a doping case.”
Verbruggen said he would discuss the investment with an independent commission set up to investigate the UCI’s links to Armstrong, if it was interested.
“I hope they are, and I will give the information myself,” he said.
Verbruggen and his successor, Pat McQuaid, are expected to meet with the three-member commission panel during its scheduled April 9-26 hearing in London.
The UCI has asked the panel to examine allegations raised by the USADA in its investigation of Armstrong and his teams that the governing body was complicit in a widespread doping conspiracy.
In the U.S., Weisel has been linked to a whistleblower lawsuit filed by Floyd Landis to recover millions of dollars of government funding of Armstrong’s USPS teams through Tailwind. Landis, who was stripped of the 2006 Tour title for doping, was a central witness in the USADA investigation.
More Related Stories
- Stop what you're doing and go watch "Borgen"
- Teenage girl claims she was beaten up for looking like Taylor Swift
- Mike Judge: "Bowling for Columbine" made me pro-gun
- New York chef serves up eight-course meal around "Arrested Development" jokes
- HLN: Jodi Arias "pleading for her life" got us a ratings win!
- Michael Ian Black on Maron feud: He "considered me a poseur"
- Chekhov's story mirrors Russia's own
- Pussy Riot member Maria Alyokhina denied parole
- Joe Francis apologizes for calling jury "retarded"
- Mary Karr: David Foster Wallace and I kept each other alive
- Morgan Freeman sleeps during televised interview
- J.J. Abrams reveals deleted shower scene with Benedict Cumberbatch
- Is the anti-gay backlash on?
- Paul McCartney backs Pussy Riot
- Cannes: Ryan Gosling's new movie draws the boo-birds
- Radio host tweets rape joke, blames journalists for reporting on it
- Juror responds to Joe Francis' insults with thoughtful email
- New track from the Lonely Island features Solange Knowles, semicolons
- Amazon introduces fan fiction publishing platform
- Naomi Watts, "Argo," "Wonderstone" among bizarre Teen Choice Awards nominees
- Imprisoned Pussy Riot member declares hunger strike
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11