PARIS — A French judge has issued a national arrest warrant for U.S. cyclist Floyd Landis in connection with a case of data hacking at a doping laboratory, a prosecutor’s office said.
French judge Thomas Cassuto, based in the Paris suburb of Nanterre, is seeking to question Landis about computer hacking dating back to September 2006 at the Chatenay-Malabry lab, said Astrid Granoux, spokeswoman for Nanterre’s prosecutor’s office. The laboratory near Paris had uncovered abnormally elevated testosterone levels in Landis’ samples collected in the run-up to his 2006 Tour de France victory, leading to the eventual loss of his medal.
Earlier Monday, France’s anti-doping chief Pierre Bordry had mistakenly described the arrest warrant as international. Granoux stressed that the warrant is only applicable on French soil. It is possible in such cases to issue an international warrant at a later date if needed.
Landis challenged the drug test results before an arbitration hearing in California — claiming that computer files were mishandled and erased — but he was stripped of his Tour de France title and banned for two years.
“Landis used the hacked files for his defense, that’s how we discovered the whole scheme,” Bordry said. “He wanted to show that the lab made mistakes in the handling of the tests.”
Landis did not immediately respond to a phone call and e-mail seeking comment.
The French judge issued the warrant Jan. 28 because Landis did not respond to a summons in November, Bordry said.
Cassuto also issued a national warrant for Arnie Baker, a retired doctor and longtime Landis coach and adviser, the prosecutor’s office said.
After discovering the hacking, the French lab upgraded security to protect its computer systems.