MOSCOW – Russian President Vladimir Putin today addressed an international scandal that has hounded him for the past week: accusations that he stole a Super Bowl ring from New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft.
His response: What ring?
“You know, I don’t remember either Mr. Kraft, or the ring,” Putin said, according to Russia’s Interfax news agency, adding that he only remembers some “souvenirs.”
“But if it is such a big treasure for Mr. Kraft and the team,” Putin continued with an air of sarcasm, “I have a suggestion.”
His idea: to make the Patriots another ring, one so luxurious they’ll forget about the one that Kraft claims Putin pocketed during their 2005 meeting.
“I will ask one of our businesses to make a really good and big thing, so everyone will see it is a luxury piece, made of quality metal and with a stone, so this piece will be passed from generation to generation in the team,” the Russian president said during a question and answer session after a major economic speech in St Petersburg.
“This would be the smartest solution partners can ever achieve while tackling such a complicated international problem,” Putin added, according to Interfax.
During a speech on June 13, Kraft claimed that Putin walked off with his Super Bowl ring after he showed it to him during a 2005 visit to St Petersburg with other business leaders.
“I could kill someone with this ring,” Kraft recalled the ex-KGB spy saying as he held the massive ring, which contains 124 diamonds weighing over 4.94 karats. Reports from 2005 estimated its value at over $25,000.
Then, Kraft claims, Putin put the ring in his pocket and walked off, surrounded by a trio of burly bodyguards.
Amid confusion over what happened, Kraft issued a statement at the time saying the ring was a gift as a sign of “friendship” with the Russian people and for appreciation of Putin’s leadership. But during his remarks last week, Kraft claims he issued the statement only after pressure from the White House, which feared the incident would become a diplomatic debacle.
Last Sunday, Putin’s spokesman responded to Kraft’s claims, saying he recalls the ring was given as a gift, calling the Patriots’ owner’s claims “weird.”
New England Patriots, spokesman Stacey James declined to comment today and said Kraft is currently out of the country.
ABC News’ Alana Abramson contributed to this report