Arnold Schwarzenegger, the 76-year-old film icon and former governor of California, encountered a significant delay at Munich airport this week.
He was detained for three hours for failing to declare a high-value watch in his luggage.
Upon arrival from Los Angeles, customs officials in Munich discovered an undeclared Audemars Piguet watch, valued at $21,000, in Schwarzenegger's baggage. This custom-made and undoubtedly valuable luxury Swiss watch led to an unexpected halt in Schwarzenegger's journey.
Initially, Schwarzenegger was cooperative as customs officers initiated their investigation into the undeclared item. However, as the situation progressed, his demeanor shifted towards agitation. A source close to Schwarzenegger said he was never asked to complete a declaration form and maintained honesty throughout the interrogation.
German customs officials initiated criminal tax proceedings, suspecting tax evasion due to the undeclared luxury item. Schwarzenegger, caught amid this predicament, claimed the watch was intended for auction, with proceeds going to his climate initiative charity. Despite this, the officials proceeded with their tax inquiry.
The process of resolving the matter was not straightforward. Payment complications arose when officers encountered issues with their credit card machines. Schwarzenegger attempted to withdraw the necessary funds from an ATM, only to find that it had a limit too low for the required payment.
Finally, a new officer arrived with a functioning credit card machine, allowing Schwarzenegger to pre-pay any taxes owed on the watch. This payment marked the end of his three-hour detention, and the customs officials subsequently released him.
Amid the situation, Schwarzenegger expressed his frustration with the process. He commented, "This is the problem that Germany is suffering from. You can no longer see the forest for the trees."
The German tabloid Bild later reported the incident, highlighting the unusual nature of such a high-profile individual being detained at an airport. Schwarzenegger's ordeal at the Munich airport highlights the stringent customs regulations and the importance of declaring valuable items upon entry into a country.
A source close to the actor described the incident as a "comedy of errors" and a potential plot for a humorous cop movie. They emphasized Schwarzenegger's cooperation and honest responses throughout the ordeal. However, they criticized the process as an "incompetent shakedown."
Following resolving the payment issue and successfully processing the taxes owed, Schwarzenegger was allowed to leave the airport. This marked the end of a lengthy and undoubtedly stressful ordeal for the actor.
The incident at Munich airport serves as a reminder of the complexities and potential pitfalls of international travel, especially when it involves undeclared high-value items. Adherence to customs regulations is essential for celebrities and ordinary travelers to ensure a smooth and uneventful journey.
As Schwarzenegger continues his travels, this incident will likely remain a notable anecdote in his varied and eventful career. The detention, while brief, highlights the vigilance of customs officials and the importance of transparency when crossing international borders.
The 76-year-old film star and former governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, faced a three-hour detention at Munich airport for failing to declare a $21,000 Audemars Piguet watch in his luggage. The incident started when customs officials in Munich discovered the undeclared watch upon his arrival from Los Angeles, leading to suspicions of tax evasion.
Schwarzenegger claimed the watch was for a charity auction but faced payment complications during the process. After resolving these issues with a functioning credit card machine, he paid the taxes owed and was released.
This incident, described as a "comedy of errors" by a source close to Schwarzenegger, highlights the importance of declaring valuable items in customs.