U.S. sues Lance Armstrong, alleges fraud of sponsor Postal Service

WASHINGTON Fri Feb 22, 2013 3:19pm EST

US Postal rider Lance Armstrong of the United States raises his hands as he crosses the finish line to win the 204.5 km long 17th stage of the Tour de France from Bourd-d'Oisans to Le Grand Bornand, France in this file photo from July 22, 2004. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

US Postal rider Lance Armstrong of the United States raises his hands as he crosses the finish line to win the 204.5 km long 17th stage of the Tour de France from Bourd-d'Oisans to Le Grand Bornand, France in this file photo from July 22, 2004.

Credit: Reuters/Wolfgang Rattay

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Justice Department said on Friday it has joined a civil lawsuit against disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong, accusing him of defrauding the U.S. Postal Service by using banned substances in international races when the post was his sponsor.

The decision came in a statement from department lawyers hours after an Armstrong lawyer said that talks had failed to dissuade the government from suing Armstrong.

(Reporting by David Ingram; Editing by David Brunnstrom)