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Schwarzenegger Detained Over Undeclared Luxury Item



Clear Facts

  • Arnold Schwarzenegger was detained at Munich airport for three hours due to a luxury watch he failed to declare upon arrival.
  • The watch, a custom-made Swiss brand Audemars Piguet valued at $21,000, was reportedly planned for auction for the Schwarzenegger Climate Initiative.
  • German customs officials initiated criminal tax proceedings, stating that the watch should have been registered as an import.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, the 76-year-old actor, was detained at Munich airport on Wednesday. The detention occurred after customs officials found a luxury watch in his luggage that he reportedly failed to declare. The watch, a custom-made Swiss brand Audemars Piguet valued at $21,000, was found during a routine luggage search.

Schwarzenegger, known for his roles in “Terminator” and “Commando,” was held for three hours after his arrival from Los Angeles. The actor had not declared the luxury item upon his arrival in Germany, leading to his detention.

The German tabloid Bild reported that Schwarzenegger initially maintained a friendly demeanor with the officials. However, as the investigation continued, he became increasingly agitated.

Munich Customs press officer Thomas Meister told CNN, “Schwarzenegger 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.”

The main customs office in Munich initiated criminal tax proceedings, as the watch should have been registered as an import. A spokesperson for the office told the Guardian, “We have initiated criminal tax proceedings. The watch should have been registered because it is an import.”

Schwarzenegger reportedly tried to explain to the officials that the watch was being donated to his charity, the Schwarzenegger Climate Initiative, and was intended for auction. He expressed his frustration with the situation, saying, “This is the problem that Germany is suffering from. You can no longer see the forest for the trees.”

A source close to Schwarzenegger told CNN, “Arnold was detained for three hours today at Munich airport for traveling with a watch he owns, that he might be auctioning at his charity auction tomorrow in Kitzbuhel (in Austria).”

The source added that Schwarzenegger was never asked to fill out a declaration form and answered all questions from customs officers honestly. The actor cooperated at every step, despite the source describing the situation as an “incompetent shakedown, a total comedy of errors that would make a very funny cop movie.”

The source also revealed that Schwarzenegger agreed to pre-pay potential taxes on the watch. However, the officers struggled to use a credit card machine for an hour until they eventually gave up.


Schwarzenegger was then escorted to a bank and asked to withdraw cash from an ATM to pay the taxes. The ATM had a low withdrawal limit and the bank was closed. Upon his return, a new officer brought a working credit card machine.

Finally, after three hours, Schwarzenegger was allowed to leave the airport, the source concluded.

Clear Thoughts (op-ed)

The recent incident involving Arnold Schwarzenegger at Munich airport is a stark reminder of the overbearing bureaucracy that has permeated our societies.

A watch, intended for auction to benefit a climate initiative, was the cause of a three-hour detention and a criminal tax proceeding. This is not just about Schwarzenegger’s fame, it’s about the excessive red tape that stifles even the most well-intentioned actions.

The German customs officials were simply doing their job, yes, but let’s not overlook the broader issue here. The “comedy of errors” surrounding the payment of potential taxes is indicative of the convoluted systems that we’ve come to accept as normal.

Schwarzenegger’s experience serves as a microcosm of the bigger picture – the need for streamlined and sensible regulations that don’t impede the flow of charitable efforts or everyday life. Let’s cut through the red tape, and see the forest for the trees.

Let us know what you think, please share your thoughts in the comments below.




  1. Donald Duck

    January 25, 2024 at 6:58 pm

    If he knew he was suppose to declare the watch and did not – then he got what he deserved. If honest mistake, then
    I’m sorry he was detained.

  2. Jesse

    January 25, 2024 at 7:20 pm

    Schwarzenegger should have checked on bringing such an item with him before he left home. This is a fault many people have they fail to check Customs and Laws of the Nation they are going to. They FALSELY believe that if a person in another Nation does not understand American English at normal speaking volume YELLING it will make them understand instead of trying to learn enough of that Nations Language to ask simple questions. This is why most Nations dislike Americans. France is one such Nation and then Americans act as if the French are Stuck up and SNOBBISH. This matter would not have been a problem at all had Arnold just done the right thing and checked on the rules, laws and regulations that might affect him and bringing the watch into Germany. So I cannot feel sorry for him about what happened. It was his own FAULT.

  3. The NC Taxman

    January 25, 2024 at 7:38 pm

    Thinking it was a DONATION to a Charity, it should have NO TAX CONSEQUENCE.
    Does this mean that everything of value you wear or bring into Germany must be declared?
    How can a foreign country tax you on something you personally own? At such time as you sell it for a profit, then it should be reported and the tax paid, but if you give it away to a legitimate Charity, no tax needed.

    He should have asked for the Superior Officer of the Customs Office to assist in dealing with this unusual situation.

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