New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft told people for years that he gave Russian president Vladimir Putin one of his Super Bowl rings, but according to a report from the New York Post, Putin actually stole the $25,000 ring.
UPDATE: Sunday, June 16, at 5:10 p.m. ET by Tom Kinslow
The Patriots have released a statement around the story, saying that it's just a funny story Kraft likes to tell, per NFL.com.
"It's a humorous, anecdotal story that Robert re-tells for laughs," Pats spokesperson Stacey James said. "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. 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."
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Kraft explained the incident to those in attendance at Carnegie Hall’s Medal of Excellence gala, saying, "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."
It was during the 2005 meeting with Putin in Saint Petersburg that the president became enamored with the ring and came into possession of it, but the drama for Kraft didn’t stop there.
After returning to the states and demanding his ring back, the White House reportedly intervened. At the behest of the American government, Kraft was instructed to claim the ring was a gift in order to ease possible tensions between the Russians and the United States.
According to the report, the government told Kraft, “It would really be in the best interest of US-Soviet relations if you meant to give the ring as a present.”
However, Kraft's story is being disputed, according to a CNN report released on Saturday.
But the president's spokesman had a different take.
No way. Never happened, according Dmitry Peskov.
"What Mr. Kraft is saying now is weird," Peskov said. "I was standing 20 centimeters away from him and Mr. Putin and saw and heard how Mr. Kraft gave this ring as a gift."
While the Patriots owner continued to tell officials that he wanted his personalized 4.94-carat diamond-encrusted ring back, the White House reiterated that it would be best to claim it was a gift and leave it at that.
As seen by this latest report, Kraft was tired of keeping this a secret.
Kraft obviously still wants his ring back after all these years, but it is still reportedly in the possession of the Russian people in the Kremlin library.