Russian President Vladimir Putin says he did not steal the New England Patriots’ owner’s Super Bowl ring.
The denial comes after Patriots owner Robert Kraft was quoted telling an audience that he showed Putin the huge, diamond-encrusted ring during a 2005 visit visit to Russia — and that Putin pocketed it and walked away.
Kraft said he was upset about the ring’s loss, but that the White House urged him to say it was a gift so as not to disrupt U.S.-Russia relations.
But a Putin spokesman on Sunday called Kraft’s accusation “weird,” and insisted the 4.94-carat ring really was 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.”