Armstrong paid banned doc's front company

ROME — An Italian newspaper is reporting that Lance Armstrong made payments to an Italian physician banned for doping through a front company in Switzerland.

Mainstream Milan-based daily Corriere della Sera says the seven-time Tour de France winner directed funds to a company in the Neuchatel region of Switzerland called Health and Performance.

Citing work by Swiss and Italian investigators, Corriere says that Michele Ferrari, a banned Italian doctor who was once Armstrong's training adviser, was behind the "anonymous company now in liquidation."

Ferrari was cleared on appeal in 2006 of criminal charges accusing him of distributing doping products to athletes, but he remains barred for life by the Italian Cycling Federation under a 2002 ruling.

Armstrong has long denied doping and has never tested positive. The American has acknowledged meeting Ferrari nonprofessionally since publicly severing their working relationship in 2004. A spokesman for Armstrong did not return a message seeking comment.

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