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http://www.newsmax.com/images/spacer.gifhttp://www.newsmax.com/images/spacer.gif Wednesday, June 29, 2005 8:46 a.m. EDT
Putin Keeps Pats Owner's Super Bowl Ring
Was it a big misunderstanding, or just a generous gift when President Vladimir Putin of Russia made off with New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft's Super Bowl ring?
Following a meeting of American business executives and Putin at Konstantinovsky Palace near St. Petersburg last Saturday, according to Russian news reports, Kraft showed his 4.94-carat, diamond-encrusted 2005 Super Bowl ring to the Russian president, who tried it on, then put it in his pocket and left.
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It was not immediately clear whether Kraft, whose business interests also include paper and packaging companies and venture capital investments, intended for Putin to keep the ring.
Patriots spokesman Stacey James said the owner is still traveling in Europe and wasn't available for comment.
"I've seen the story, and I've gotten other calls," James said Tuesday. "I wish I could confirm it, but I just don't have any way to."
Yevgeniy Khorishko, a spokesman at the Russian embassy in Washington, said he had no information about the matter.
A Kremlin spokeman on Wednesday refused to comment on the matter.
Tokens given to the Russian president normally are kept in the state treasury, but in this case, the Super Bowl ring was deposited in the Kremlin library, according to a report in Kommersant, a leading Russian business newspaper. Kraft handed out Super Bowl rings to players and coaches during a gathering at his Brookline home two weeks ago. The team wouldn't say how much each ring is worth, other than it cost more than $15,000. The Pats have won three of the last four Super Bowls. © 2005 The Associated Press