Russia pays $15 million Olympic doping fine: source

web_photo_doping_22072016

Technician holds test tube with blood sample at Russian anti-doping laboratory in Moscow.

Technician holds test tube with blood sample at Russian anti-doping laboratory in Moscow.

web_photo_doping_22072016

Technician holds test tube with blood sample at Russian anti-doping laboratory in Moscow.

Technician holds test tube with blood sample at Russian anti-doping laboratory in Moscow.

PYEONGCHANG - Russia has paid the $15 million(R174.54 million) it was fined in December when it was suspended by the International Olympic Committee for mass doping, a source with knowledge of the issue told AFP Wednesday.

"The fine has been paid," the source said.

The payment of the fine by the Russian Olympic Committee is one of the IOC&39;s key criteria in deciding whether to lift Russia&39;s suspension before the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics closing ceremony on Sunday.

The IOC barred Russia from the Olympics on December 5 after allegations that it had organised a huge system of doping at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, where hosts Russia topped the medals table.

A team of 168 Russian athletes deemed to have proved they are "clean" have been allowed to compete in Pyeongchang under the banner Olympic Athletes from Russia.

But Russia was embarrassed by the positive drugs test for curling bronze medallist Alexander Krushelnitsky -- one of the competitors who was extensively screened before he was allowed to attend the Games.

His case is due to be heard in a special session of the Court of Arbitration for Sport on Thursday.

Krushelnitsky, who tested positive for the endurance booster meldonium, has denied knowingly taking the substance and says he is in "shock" at the result.