Arnold Schwarzenegger, the iconic actor and former Governor of California, faced a peculiar ordeal at the Munich Airport in Germany. Schwarzenegger, known for his roles in action-packed films, found himself in a real-life drama over a luxury watch.
Schwarzenegger was detained by customs officers at Munich Airport for not declaring a watch he was wearing. The incident occurred on Wednesday as he was traveling to Austria for a charity auction. The watch, a custom-made piece by luxury Swiss watchmaker Audemars Piguet, was to be auctioned at the event for The Schwarzenegger Climate Initiative, which supports global climate projects.
The situation escalated when Schwarzenegger attempted to pay the taxes for the watch at the airport. However, the credit card machine malfunctioned. Subsequently, he was escorted to an ATM, but the withdrawal limit was too low, and the nearby bank was closed.
Arnold Schwarzenegger, detained at Munich airport, has been released.
The actor has to pay a fine of 35,000 euros for violating customs regulations. pic.twitter.com/j4TNRvu0Uo
— NEXTA (@nexta_tv) January 17, 2024
Eventually, customs officers brought in a working credit card machine. Schwarzenegger cooperated throughout the process, which lasted about three hours. A customs spokesperson confirmed that a criminal procedure investigation for possible tax evasion is currently ongoing.
Thomas Meister, a customs spokesman, indicated that while Schwarzenegger might continue his journey, the watch would likely have to stay in Germany.
Based on information from BILD (a German news outlet), Schwarzenegger initially remained composed during the interrogation. However, as time progressed and the process continued, he reportedly became increasingly impatient. He was expected to have departed Munich for Kitzbühel by this time:
Accordingly, the customs officials are said to have asked Arnold Schwarzenegger (estimated private assets around 500 million euros) very personal things. Including: How many children he has, what his partner’s name is, how much money he has in the bank, what his net worth is…
Schwarzenegger is said to have asked why the officials needed to know this. But the officers allegedly insisted that he answer the questions. Pure chicanery. According to BILD information, the actor has called in his lawyers.
Schwarzenegger shared, “This is the problem that Germany is suffering from. You can no longer see the forest for the trees.” He further elaborated to the officials that the watch was part of a charity auction and it was for a good cause. Despite his explanation, it was to no avail.
According to the outlet, Schwarzenegger was reportedly fined a whopping 35,000 euros. The watch’s valuation stood at 26,000 euros, along with a tax value of 4,000 euros and an additional penalty of 5,000 euros.
It’s said that he was willing to settle the amount using his credit card. Yet, there was a catch: he was not permitted to do so, despite having an unlimited credit limit. The reason? Half of the customs fees, amounting to 17,500 euros, needed to be paid in cash. Carrying such a large sum, particularly in euros, was not something he had anticipated.
Schwarzenegger has been seen wearing various high-end watches throughout his life. He is known for his preference for large, bold watches, befitting his stature and personality. Some of the brands he has been associated with include Panerai, Audemars Piguet, and U-Boat.
Despite the inconvenience and the hefty fine, Schwarzenegger remained committed to his charity work. The auction, scheduled for the next day in Kitzbuhel, Austria, was set to raise funds for his climate initiative. Schwarzenegger’s representatives assured that the auction proceeds would be properly reported.