Czech President ‘Steals’ Pen!
Footage appearing to show Czech President Vaclav Klaus slyly pocketing a ceremonial pen during a meeting with his Chilean counterpart Sebastián Piñera has become a global internet sensation, receiving over 1.5 million hits on YouTube. Filmed during a recent news conference to announce a new trade agreement, the video clip shows Klaus removing the pen – which was encrusted with semi-precious Chilean lapis lazuili stones – from its case and clearly admiring it before drawing it under the table and seemingly attempting to pocket it without anyone noticing!
The online furore created by the footage led to statements from both Presidential offices, claiming that Klaus hadn’t behaved inappropriately. Klaus responded by claiming that he ‘takes stuff all the time’ with previous hauls including ‘a pen from a Nato summit in October and a notepad from the Latvian parliament’. Radim Ochvat, Klaus’s spokesman, stressed that the President was entitled to take the pen, which was ‘a pen with a logo of the state or office, which presidents and members of their delegation receive during state visits’, adding that ‘We at the Prague Castle always give such a pen to delegations, along with a notepad’. This was followed by a statement from Piñera’s office, confirming that ‘guests of the President were free to take the ceremonial pens as gifts’. However official ‘clarification’ hasn’t prevented a number of satirical responses to the ‘theft’ such as this cartoon by Sergei Velkin at RIA Novosti and the establishment of a Czech facebook group backing a campaign for people to send pens to Klaus at Prague Castle as ‘their president obviously has nothing to write with’!
Aceeptance of a legitimate gift? Or a hangover from the communist period when petty pilfering was viewed as the norm? Watch the footage below to decide for yourself!
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