April 14th, 2011
12:15 PM ET

Lunch Break: Czech president steals pen?

Has the Czech President ever got this much international attention before?

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.

But 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."

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 1 million Kč (around $60,000), Radio Prague reported."

Now the Associated Press reports, "More than 5,000 Czechs have signed up to a Facebook campaign to mail pens to the president."

The clip of the president and the pen has been viewed more than 3 million times on Youtube.

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Topics: Europe

soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. nart

    Yes, Vaclav Klaus HAS had this much attention before. He's the world's most powerful global warming denier, a huge euroskeptic, and resigned as Prime Minister in 1997 for rampant party corruption. I thought a news organization would know this, and not focus on a pen. But I guess asking CNN to talk about real news is a bit too much to ask.

    April 16, 2011 at 1:22 pm | Reply
  2. eg

    it was funny tho

    April 17, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Reply
  3. Peter Spina

    Was the pen given to him as a gift?

    April 17, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Reply
    • Rod

      Yes

      April 21, 2011 at 3:46 am | Reply
  4. Dan

    My favorite line of the story, said entirely without irony: "...but there's a WHOLE lot more to this story that you need to hear." You go, CNN. Keep up the good work and don't hurt your arm patting yourself on the back for your dedication to quality reporting. Hmm – what's a word for the opposite of "news"?

    April 17, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Reply
  5. j. von hettlingen

    I think it was a show. He was fully aware that the camera was focusing on him and thought it was a perfect occasion to demonstrate his cheekiness. If he had put the pen into his pocket openly, it wouldn't hade made a headline.

    April 18, 2011 at 4:13 am | Reply
  6. SlickBK

    This guy took a pen. That is lame IMO. You have corrupt leaders in the middle east and other parts of the world who take billions of dollars in bribes and steal from there own country.

    April 18, 2011 at 11:26 am | Reply
  7. Kitty

    What is the brand of the pen and where can one purchase it?

    April 19, 2011 at 3:52 am | Reply
  8. Parody

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HohDvW4fMiU&w=640&h=390]

    April 21, 2011 at 1:59 am | Reply

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