Hollywood legend and former Republican California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger was detained last week at the Munich International Airport after officials discovered a luxury watch that Schwarzenegger allegedly failed to declare to officials upon his arrival.
According to Bild, a German news outlet, Schwarzenegger, age 76, was detained after customs officials discovered a $21,000 custom-made Swiss brand Audemars Piguet watch in his luggage. The Hollywood actor was detained for roughly three hours after traveling to Germany from Los Angeles.
The German news outlet reported that while Schwarzenegger was initially friendly with the customs officials at the airport, the Hollywood actor eventually became frustrated with the officials as the investigation persisted.
Thomas Meister, a Munich Customs press officer, told CNN, “He did not declare a product. A product that was imported from non-EU countries in order to remain in the EU. And this process applies to everyone.”
Additionally, a Munich Customs spokesperson told The Guardian that criminal tax proceedings have been launched due to the incident. “We have initiated criminal tax proceedings,” the spokesperson said. “The watch should have been registered because it is an import.”
According to Bild, Schwarzenegger told the officials that the luxury watch was going to be donated to the Schwarzenegger Climate Initiative for an auction. “This is the problem that Germany is suffering from,” he said. “You can no longer see the forest for the trees.”
A source close to Schwarzenegger confirmed to CNN that the Hollywood actor was detained at the Munich International Airport due to his luxury watch. The unidentified source said Schwarzenegger was possibly auctioning the watch at a charity event in Kitzbuhel, Austria.
“He was never asked to fill out a declaration form and he answered every question from customs officers honestly,” the source stated. “He cooperated at every step even though it was an incompetent shakedown, a total comedy of errors that would make a very funny cop movie.”
According to People.com, the unidentified source claimed that the actor had agreed to “prepay potential taxes on the watch” but that customs officials unsuccessfully attempted to use a credit card machine for roughly an hour before Schwarzenegger was transported to a bank to “withdraw cash from an ATM to pay.”
“The ATM they brought him to had a limit too low and the bank was closed,” the source explained. “When he returned, a new officer brought a new credit card machine that worked.”
The source added that after the payment process was completed, Schwarzenegger was allowed to leave the Munich International Airport.