MOSCOW (AP) — Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko wants all retested doping samples from the 2008 and 2012 Olympics to be thrown out because of alleged flaws in the reanalysis process.
"A laboratory which falsely declared a positive test result must be stripped of its accreditation and all the samples it tested must be declared invalid," Mutko told Russia's Tass news agency on Wednesday.
The IOC has reported 55 positive findings in retesting of stored samples from the 2008 Beijing Games and 2012 London Olympics. The Russian Olympic Committee has said 22 of the cases involved Russian athletes, including medalists.
Russian officials said two of the athletes were cleared when their "B'' samples tested negative, contradicting the positive "A'' samples.
Mutko said those two cases were enough justification for the entire retesting program to be scrapped.
Russian state sports channel Match TV previously reported that 10 Russian medalists had tested positive in retests from Beijing alone. One of those athletes, bronze medal-winning race walker Denis Nizhegorodov, was later reported as having a negative "B'' sample, along with rower Alexander Kornilov.
The IOC has been retesting samples at the World Anti-Doping Agency-accredited laboratory in Lausanne, Switzerland. The tests are targeted on athletes hoping to compete at the upcoming Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Also Wednesday, a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin strongly denied allegations that Mutko might be personally involved in covering up doping cases.
A documentary by German broadcaster ARD, which was broadcast later Wednesday, alleged it has evidence that Mutko intervened to bury a soccer player's positive test. The Krasnodar player was not named.
The ARD documentary also said it was told by an athlete that the disgraced coach of Russia's walkers, Viktor Chegin, who has been banned for life, was seen directing athletes secretly in Adler, near Sochi. Mutko, in an interview filmed in April, insisted that Chegin was not involved in sports.
Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia is committed to working with international bodies to battle doping but added that "until there is hard evidence to back up those claims (against Mutko) ... we will treat this as libel."
Russia's state Investigative Committee said it had opened a criminal case against unnamed former officials from the country's track and field federation.
Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said in a statement that the case focused on a charge of "abuse of authority" by the officials and claimed it was tied to a criminal investigation in France into alleged extortion of athletes by former IAAF president Lamine Diack and other officials.
"If a crime is found to have been committed, then the guilty parties will doubtless receive criminal punishment under the full extent of the law," Markin said.