BERLIN — Christian Lindner, German Finance Minister was spotted putting on his luxury wristwatch at the end of a TV talk show appearance, leading to accusations from political rivals that he was trying to conceal his wealth.
Lindner, who leads the business-friendly Liberal Democrats, appeared on German public broadcaster ZDF’s talk show “maybrit illnerlast week. When the credits started rolling at the end of the show, the finance minister driving Porsche pulled out a wristwatch that looked like his own. Rolex Milgausswhose prices can start in the high four figures.
The Ministry of Finance and Lindner’s spokesperson declined to comment and declined to answer why Lindner did not wear his watch during the show, but put it on at the end. French President Emmanuel Macron came under similar scrutiny last month, when he was secretly spotted take off your watch in the middle of a TV appearance.
An employee of “maybritt illnerPOLITICO’s editorial staff told POLITICO “there are no rules” regarding the visual appearance of guests. Whether or not to wear a watch is up to the attendee, the staffer added. Attempting to correct the record in France last month, the Elysée Palace claimed that Macron took off the watch because he “banged it against the table, causing a fairly loud noise”, according to French media.
Lindner’s other panelists – Lars Klingbeil, general secretary of Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democrats, and Omid Nouripour, co-leader of the Green party – both wore watches.
Some viewers – and political opponents – have accused Lindner of taking off his fancy watch to hide his wealth and appear more down to earth.
Lindner, who was a management consultant and entrepreneur before and early in his political career, earns around €20,000 gross a month as a federal cabinet minister. He receives additional remuneration for his term in the Bundestag. Lindner has always been a member of the regional parliament of North Rhine-Westphalia or of the Bundestag since 2000. According to ntvby adding up all of his additional income from 2017 to 2021, the leader of the FDP received at least half a million euros in addition to his salary at the Bundestag.
“You can see how out of touch Lindner is by hiding the big Rolex during the conversation. [show]but remove it immediately afterwards,” tweeted Marlon Borchersa representative of the Left Party youth organization.
When Social Democrat Sawsan Chebli faced backlash in 2018 for wearing a Rolex Datejust, Lindner tweeted “let her carry [a] Rolex. You don’t have to be poor to be against poverty.