by Christopher Freeburn | June 17, 2013 11:58 am
A spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin is dismissing reports that the former-KGB-operative-turned-nationalist-politician swiped an expensive ring almost a decade ago.
According to Robert Kraft, who owns the New England Patriots, the Russian leader made off one of the team’s Super Bowl rings during a 2005 meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia. After Putin expressed interest in the ring, Kraft says he allowed him to put it on his finger. Putin then pocketed the ring — and accompanied by security — left the meeting, the Washington Post notes.
The ring featured 124 diamonds and is valued at $25,000.
A Russian official noted that the ring is now on display in the Kremlin Library and insists that Kraft presented the ring as gift to Putin. The official called Kraft’s version of the story “weird.”
On Monday, a representative for Kraft indicated that the Patriots’ owner “loves that his ring is at the Kremlin” and that he “continues to have great respect for Russia and the leadership of President Putin.”
In his prior recounting of the story, Kraft said that efforts to enlist the White House in getting his ring back failed because administration officials didn’t want to start a row with Russia over the incident. He claimed that the White House pressured him to say he intended to give the ring to Putin as a gift.
The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.
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