Apparently, Vladimir Putin didn’t steal Robert Kraft‘s Super Bowl ring after all.
According to CNN, Putin’s spokesperson denied that Putin kept the ring that Kraft wanted back. The New York Post reported on remarks that Kraft made about the ring exchange at an awards gala, and the paper characterized Kraft’s remarks in a way that made it seem that Putin kept the ring when, in reality, Kraft wanted the ring back.
“I really didn’t [want to give up the ring],” Kraft was quoted as saying in the Post story. “I had an emotional tie to the ring, it has my name on it. I don’t want to see it on eBay.”
Putin doesn’t deny that he has the ring, however, as he says Kraft gave it to him as a gift.
“What Mr. Kraft is saying now is weird,” Dmitry 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.”
The 4.94-carat ring in question is in the Kremlin’s library, where all official state gifts are kept, Peskov said. It is worth more than $25,000, according to multiple reports from 2005.
On Sunday, a spokesperson for Kraft released a statement saying that the story is a “humorous anecdote” that Kraft 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.”