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A B.C. jeweller who helped Svend Robinson design a diamond ring for partner Max Riveron doesn't buy the MP's explanation that he "snapped" when he pocketed a ring on April 9.

Shahraz Kassam said he helped Mr. Robinson design a diamond ring two days earlier.

"I find the whole thing amazing," Mr. Kassam told the Canadian Press. "It's almost laughable. He was perfectly fine. He was like any person looking for a nice, special gift."

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Last Thursday, the long-time New Democrat MP announced in a tear-filled news conference that he had stolen a ring from an auction on April 9. He turned himself into police a few days later, he told reporters.

Mr. Kassam, however, says Mr. Robinson should have told the whole story.

"I think it's important for him to have stood up and say: 'I was in the market for a diamond,"' Mr. Kassam said.

"He was looking at a loose diamond," Mr. Kassam explained. "Him and I sat down and designed a ring . . . which was to get engaged or get married with his partner after 10 years.

"He said he felt (Mr. Riveron) really deserves it."

The jeweller said he recommended white gold for the design but Mr. Robinson said Mr. Riveron preferred yellow gold.

The design would have cost about $10,300 but could be valued at up to $25,000, Mr. Kassam said.

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Mr. Robinson, 52, met Mr. Riveron while on a visit to Cuba a decade ago.

Mr. Robinson had said in 2001 that he and Mr. Riveron would discuss marriage if same-sex marriage became legal.

The Toronto-based auction house has said it is satisfied with Mr. Robinson's apology for stealing the expensive ring on Good Friday and would not be pressing authorities to lay charges.

Federal Auction Services Inc., of Brampton, Ont., also confirmed Friday that it had provided RCMP with video evidence of the crime 48 hours before Mr. Robinson turned himself in.

The decision whether to charge Mr. Robinson now rests with a special prosecutor appointed Friday.

Mr. Robinson, 52, told the news he had turned himself in to police and relinquished the ring after a tortured Easter weekend of self-examination.

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The 25-year veteran of federal politics is taking a medical leave from his parliamentary duties.

Mr. Robinson also sent a private letter of apology to Federal Auction Services on Tuesday - the same day he contacted the RCMP in Burnaby, B.C.

The company said it would not release Mr. Robinson's letter, adding its "sympathy and concern for him at what must be a very difficult and stressful time."

The theft was noticed immediately, the auction house said. After reviewing video surveillance, the auctioneers contacted RCMP in Richmond, B.C., who had the videotape by Sunday.

Mr. Robinson has retained Toronto lawyer Clayton Ruby to defend his interests.

Mr. Ruby, one of Canada's most accomplished defence lawyers, was hired by NDP MP Lorne Nystrom in 1990 for Mr. Nystrom's trial on charges of shoplifting contact lens cleaning tablets. Mr. Nystrom was acquitted.

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Federal Auction Services refused to provide a value for the stolen ring or even a description. A spokesman would say only that it had a round stone.

An RCMP spokesman said the Richmond detachment is investigating a case of theft over $5,000.

Mr. Robinson said Thursday he's been suffering "extreme stress and emotional pain" for some time - in part related to a hiking accident that took place in 1997 - and that he "looked forward to full healing and recovery."

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