June 8, 2012 · Posted in: General
THERE ARE SOME political personalities who are so adept at hiding their wealth that journalists have a very difficult time looking for the smoking gun – clues that lead them to records and documents that would prove that they have more money than they could have legally earned.
As Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism’s founding Executive Director Sheila Coronal points out in her investigative journalism blog Watchdog-Watcher, this is where creative thinking comes in.
In her blog No smoking gun, but some smoking watches, Coronel narrates how the Bureau of Investigative Journalism in London used more obvious clues, those apparently hidden in plain sight, in showing that there was more to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s assets than the $150,000 annual income that he receives as Russia’s president.
Stumped by the scarcity of evidence linking the president to any of the anomalies hounding his friends and cronies, the Bureau looked to Putin’s wrist. Specifically, his wristwatch.
Putin, Coronel notes, is famous for his fondness for luxury Swiss watches – even those that he cannot seem to afford given his pay grade. Since Russia’s internet community was obsessively tracking Putin’s wristwear, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism looked in that direction.
So far, the Bureau reported that Putin has been photographed with at least $ 200,000 worth of various luxury timepieces hanging from his wrist. A good way to keep tabs on the time, but a bad way to keep journalists and investigators off your tail.
Read Sheila’s blog here.