Former California Governor and Hollywood star Arnold Schwarzenegger was detained for several hours at Munich Airport for failing to declare a luxury watch, reportedly resulting in a hefty fine, before he was finally allowed to continue his journey to Austria.
The entanglement began after Schwarzenegger’s flight from Los Angeles landed in Germany on Wednesday afternoon. He was stopped by customs officers, who searched his luggage and found a custom-made Audemars Piguet watch.
The incident is being investigated as a case of possible tax evasion, customs spokesman Thomas Meister told Germany’s Bild newspaper. “The watch should have been registered because it is an import,” he said.
Bild published a photo of the 76-year-old former bodybuilder and action movie star holding his watch box in an office with two customs officers. Schwarzenegger told the media outlet that he tried to explain to the authorities that he brought the watch to auction off on Thursday in Austria for a good cause, his climate initiative, “but it was no use.”
NEW - Germany initiates criminal tax proceedings against Arnold Schwarzenegger: Customs caught him with an undeclared luxury watch at Munich airport — BILD pic.twitter.com/kxp7X4CAYx— Disclose.tv (@disclosetv) January 17, 2024
The watch was specially made for Schwarzenegger and was reportedly valued at upward of €20,000 ($21,800). He was further delayed when he tried to pay his tax and penalty because the credit-card machine wasn’t working and the withdrawal limit on the ATM to which he was brought was too low.
The payment issue was finally resolved, and Schwarzenegger was allowed to continue his journey on to Austria about three hours after arriving in Munich, according to media reports.
Schwarzenegger has remained outspoken on politics since completing his second term as California’s governor in 2011. He said in a CNN interview last June that he would run for president and would likely win in 2024 if his foreign-born status didn’t make him ineligible. He lamented in November that America is likely headed for a rematch between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump rather than getting “new blood” in the White House.