June 15, 2013
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft revealed the real story behind a 2005 meeting with Vladimir Putin, during which the Russian president pocketed his Super Bowl ring, worth more than $25,000. Kraft, at the time, claimed the diamond-encrusted bauble was a gift, but he now admits Putin stole it, and the White House intervened when he demanded it back.
Kraft explained the incident happened while Sandy Weill and other business execs were in St. Petersburg. “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,’ ” Kraft told the crowd at Carnegie Hall’s Medal of Excellence gala at the Waldorf-Astoria.“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 the time, “President Putin, a great and knowledgable sports fan, was clearly taken with its uniqueness. I decided to give him the ring as a symbol of the respect and admiration that I have for the Russian people and [his] leadership.
Alla Eshchenko and Faith Karimi
June 16, 2013
Russia’s president is fighting back: No, he did not steal a Super Bowl ring. And no, he’s not rocking the diamond-encrusted prize on his finger, either.
President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman denied accusations that the leader kept a Super Bowl ring that New England Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft wanted back.
Both sides agree that the ring, with its 124 diamonds, changed hands during Kraft’s visit to St. Petersburg, Russia, in 2005.