Putin denies stealing Kraft’s Super Bowl ring from Robert Kraft.
A spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin says that New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft gave Putin his Super Bowl ring as a gift in 2005 and that Kraft’s story about him taking it without permission was “weird”.
Kraft told the crowd at the Carnegie Hall’s Medal of Excellence gala on Thursday that he showed Putin his ring during a visit to St. Petersburg, Russia in 2005 and the President never gave it back.
According to the New York Post, Kraft told the crowd, “I took out the ring and showed it to [Putin], and he put it on and he goes, ‘I can kill someone with this ring.’ I put my hand out and he put it in his pocket, and three KGB guys got around him and walked out.”
Kraft released a statement at that time saying he gave Putin the ring as a gift.
Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for Putin, told CNN on Sunday that the ring was definitely given as a gift.
“What Mr. Kraft is saying now is weird,” Dmitry Peskov told CNN. “I was standing 20 centimeters away from him and Mr. Putin and saw and heard how Mr. Kraft gave this ring as a gift.”
Peskov added that the Super Bowl ring is now at the Kremlin’s library.
On Sunday, the Kraft Group issued a statement attempting to clarify the owner’s remarks.
“It’s a humorous, anecdotal story that Robert re-tells for laughs. He loves that his ring is at the Kremlin and, as he stated back in 2005, he continues to have great respect for Russia and the leadership of President Putin,” the statement said. “In particular, he credits President Putin for modernizing the Russian economy. An added benefit from the attention this story gathered eight years ago was the creation of some Patriots fan clubs in Russia.”
“On Thursday night, Kraft told the crowd that he really wanted the 4.94-carat bauble back, admitting he’d gotten a call from the George W. Bush-run White House, saying, ‘It would really be in the best interest of United States-Soviet relations if you meant to give the ring as a present.’ ”
Kraft’s New England Patriots won the Super Bowls at the end of the NFL’s 2001, 2003, and 2004 seasons. The ring in question was for the Super Bowl XXXIX championship at the end of the 2004 season. Putin denies stealing Kraft’s Super Bowl ring – Image/ESPN