Václav Klaus, the president of the Czech Republic, was caught apparently pilfering a pen during a large news conference in Chile with President Sebastian Pinera. The two leaders were celebrating the signing of a new transportation agreement.
He picks up the pen encrusted with semi-precious Chilean lapiz lazuili stones and slips it into his pocket. To cover his tracks, he shuts the antique box before smiling for the camera. He certainly looks guilty. The clip has been viewed more than 3 million times on Youtube.
Chilean spokesperson said the President’s guests were free to take the pens. And Mr. Klaus said he frequently helps himself to such things. “It is what people do regularly,” he said. “They keep notepads and pens from such events.”
A spokesman for Klaus said the pen was “a common pen with a logo of the state or office, which presidents and members of their delegation receive during state visits”.
According to the Prague Post, “It’s not the first time the Czech president has held such an expensive pen, either. At his swearing-in for his second presidential term in 2008, Klaus was presented with a 18-carat gold pen worth around $60,000.”
Now the Associated Press reports, “More than 5,000 Czechs have signed up to a Facebook campaign to mail pens to the president.” Readers are encouraged to send pens to his office on 2 May “as the president obviously has nothing to write with”, according to the Facebook group. [via The Guardian (UK) and BBC]