Former International Cycling Union (UCI) President Hein Verbruggen has won a defamation case in the Swiss Courts against Irish journalist and former cyclist Paul Kimmage.
The 74-year-old Dutchman initially filed the application for damages back in 2011, following comments made by Kimmage in The Sunday Times and interviews with L’Équipe and NYVelocity.com that he had knowingly tolerated doping.
He had also claimed that Verbruggen had failed to apply rules regarding shame American cyclist Lance Armstrong’s backdated therapeutic use exemption (TUE).
Initially the case had also included the UCI and Verbruggen successor as UCI President Pat McQuaid.
Following his election as President Brian Cookson ended the UCI's participation in the case.
"One of the earliest decisions I made after my election as president was that the pursuit of Paul Kimmage in the courts was in no way something the UCI should be involved in," Cookson said.
McQuaid ended his participation in the case in 2012.
The Swiss courts have now ruled in Verbruggen favour in the case and have forbidden Kimmage from stating “that Henricus Verbruggen knowingly tolerated doping, concealed test results, is dishonest, does not behave responsibly, did not apply the same rules to everyone, did not pursue Lance Armstrong after he had been provided with a backdated certificate.”
Kimmage has also been ordered to pay Verbruggen CHF12,000 (£8,249/$12,062/€10,852) in damages, while also covering the Dutchman’s legal fees.
He has been instructed to inform The Sunday Times, L’Équipe, NYVelocity.com and Swiss newpaper Au Temps of the ruling, while he could also face further penalties should he goes against the courts verdict.
Both Verbruggen and McQuaid were cleared of concealing failed tests and corruption but the pair were alleged to have protected top cyclists during the Armstrong era in the Cycling Independent Reform Commission (CIRC) report, which explored cycling's doping culture and was commissioned by current UCI President Brian Cookson in January 2014.
Verbruggen had threatened to sue the UCI following the report but an agreement was signed with Cookson to end legal proceedings, which also saw him retain his role as Honorary Presidency of the governing body.
The Dutchman, an honorary member of the IOC, has maintained his claim that the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) had close involvement in the appointment of the CIRC members and as such it was not a fair process.
He said that the involvement of Ulrich Haas, who had worked with WADA and was accepted to become the chairman of the UCI’s Anti-Doping Tribunal, represented a conflict of interest.
Verbruggen also alleged that the organisation had focused most of its attentions on cycling - suggesting that sports such as athletics, which is currently embroiled in its own doping crisis, should have received more attention.
In April, the 74-year-old announced he had complained about four officials to the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) Ethics Commission.
Richard Pound, the Canadian former chairman of WADA, as well as the organisation's outgoing director general David Howman were among the officials targeted, along with United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) chief executive Travis Tygart and Bill Bock, an American lawyer influential in bringing down Armstrong.
He accused WADA - who have strongly denied his claims - of subjecting him and the UCI, which he served as President between 1991 and 2005, to a "hate campaign".
In response, WADA President Sir Craig Reedie had stated he was “astonished by the complaint” and called upon Verbruggen to retract his claim.
Sir Craig also suggested that the IOC Ethics Commission should “consider conducting its own investigation into the malicious conduct of Mr. Verbruggen in relation to a member of the IOC."