TODAY

TODAY   |  June 17, 2013

Patriots owner alleges Putin stole Super Bowl ring

Eight years after Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, said he gave Russian president Vladimir Putin his Super Bowl ring as a gift, Kraft is now saying Putin stole it. NBC’s Stephanie Gosk reports.

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>>> a super bowl ring at the center of international intrigue. he belonged to the owner of the new england patriots and ended up in the hands of russia 's president. the question this morning is how did that happen? stephanie has more on that. good morning.

>> good morning. this is quite a story. they're made of gold and diamonds with a street value of tens of thousands. robert craft gifted his to the russian president , or did he? it seems odd two grown men disagreig over a ring but this is not an ordinary ring and these are not two ordinary men. the owner of the new england patriots and billionaire business man, vladimir putin , president of russia and self-described outdoors man. the story starts in 2005 when the patriots won the super bowl . the owner along with the entire team got a ring. not long afterwards he was part of a high profile business concert in st. petersburg russia where the ring exchanged hands. the russian president tried it on and kept it. craft said it was a gift. but now, 8 years later he told a different story to a gala. he said i took out the ring and showed it to putin and he put it on and he goes i can kill someone with this ring. i put my handout and he put it in his pocket and three kgb guys got around him and walked out. according to the new york post he went on to say it was the bush administration that pressured him to call the ring a present for the sake of foreign relationships. bush officials wouldn't comment. he was a patriots fan his entire life. season tickets since '91, bought the team in '94.

>> it means a lot more than the value of the ring and diamonds. you don't want to lose any ring from any championship and each one in it's own way is more important than the other.

>> a spokesperson says thursday night's story was meant to be funny. it's a humorous story he retells for laughs. he loves that his ring is there.

>> on display for all the russian nfl fans. the u.s. russian relationship in 2005 wasn't strong. it sparked patriots fan clubs in russia . call it football diplomacy.

>> what do we think happened?

>> i think it's probably the original story, he said go ahead take it.

>> he thought he'd get it back. tony blair stole my watch five years ago.

>> did he really? ; think