Gullible Slovak TV says Czech leader has kleptomania
1 hr 17 mins ago
.PRAGUE (AFP) – A video of the Czech president pocketing a pen, which has gone viral on the Internet, has embarrassed a Slovak television station which branded him a kleptomaniac.
"Vaclav Klaus confessed having this deviation after cameras caught him stealing a pen at a news conference" during a recent visit to Chile, the private TV JOJ said on its website, without naming its source.
"The president has allegedly been stealing for 20 years. He could start a treatment programme this month," the news anchor said in a serious tone on Monday's evening newscast.
The Czech news site IDNES.cz said Tuesday the TV JOJ report had been inspired by a story published by the Czech weekly Reflex, which mocks Klaus and which "is very clearly not an official story about the head of the state."
IDNES.cz also quoted TV JOJ as saying it would "put things right."
The clip in which Klaus secretly pockets an expensive pen at a joint press conference with his Chilean counterpart Sebastian Pinera was first broadcast by Czech public television on April 10.
Since then, it has appeared on television broadcasts worldwide and generated more than 2.5 million hits on YouTube.
Klaus, a 69-year-old former economist, has been Czech president since 2003 and was prime minister from 1993 to 1997.
To add spice to its report -- and still drawing inspiration from Reflex -- TV JOJ said "Klaus showed the first symptoms of kleptomania after the coupon privatisation when he saw everyone around him stealing."
Subject to abuse by profiteers, the coupon privatisation project was designed to sell shares in state-held companies to private individuals after communism collapsed in the then Czechoslovakia in 1989.
It was co-authored by Klaus.
The Czech and Slovak languages are very close, and many people in both countries speak both languages -- a legacy of the Czechoslovak federation which split peacefully into two states in 1993.
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