Russian president Vladimir Putin has offered to replace New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft's 'stolen' Super Bowl ring, according to the Guardian.
The Russian leader denied accusations that a Super Bowl ring on display inside the Kremlin was stolen from Kraft after the Patriots owner appeared to suggest it was taken from him. Putin insists it was given to him as a gift.
The story first came to light after Kraft, speaking at an awards night at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel last week, was quoted in the New York Post as insinuating that the Super Bowl ring was taken from him.
"I took out the ring and showed it to [Putin]," Kraft was quoted as saying in the Post. "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."
Kraft was part of an American delegation of business interests that travelled to Russia in 2005 shortly after his Patriots team won their third Super Bowl in four seasons.
The diamond ring is worth around $25,000. In 2005, Kraft claimed he gave Putin the ring as a gift, but then changed his mind and requested it back.
The Post story claimed in the interest of Russian-American relations, the White House suggested to claim it was a gift.
Putin is currently meeting with G8 leaders in Northern Ireland. Shortly after landing in London for talks with David Cameron before the summit, Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov responded to the Post story.
"Back in 2005 I stood behind the president's back and I saw how that ring was presented to him," said Peskov.
"All that talk about some kind of pressure that was exerted on him [Kraft] should be the subject of a detailed talk with psychoanalysts, I think.
"At the same time, I am aware that this gentleman is feeling such a horrible pain about the 2005 loss.
"The president will be ready to send him another ring as a gift, which he [Putin] can buy with his own money."
As for Kraft, a company spokesperson for the businessman's interests said that the story shouldn't be taken too seriously.
Kraft's spokesperson Stacey James said: "It's a humorous, anecdotal story that Robert retells 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.
"In particular, he credits President Putin for modernising the Russian economy."
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