Action star and former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was left furious after being detained for more than three hours at a German airport Wednesday after officials accused him of tax evasion for not declaring a $21,000 watch he was preparing to auction off for charity.
Schwarzenegger was preparing to enter Germany when Munich airport authorities found a Swiss brand Audemars Piguet wristwatch in his luggage during an inspection, according to the German newspaper, Bild.
The Terminator star freely admitted the watch was an item he planned to auction off for his Schwarzenegger Climate Initiative charity auction which is to be held in Kitzbuhel, Austria, on Thursday.
It was reported that Schwarzenegger was friendly and cooperative at first, but as the inefficiency and incompetence of the customs officials worsened with every minute, the movie star began getting frustrated.
The paper added that officials demanded the action star pay a fee for the potential taxes on the watch, but when the agent tried to use a credit card reader in the office, he couldn’t get it to work.
Then they demanded he accompany them to a local bank to withdraw the money for them in cash. But the bank was closed and his debit card had a limit on it that would not let him take out the amount the customs cops wanted.
After that, officials took him back to the airport where another official then transported him to yet another bank — one that was open — and he was able to withdraw the amount they were demanding.
Thomas Meister, a German government customs agent, told the media that the state is initiating “criminal tax proceedings” against the Expendables star.
Bild: Arnold Schwarzenegger was detained during a customs check at Munich airport because of an expensive Audemars Piguet wristwatch.— NEXTA (@nexta_tv) January 17, 2024
Schwarzenegger claims he was going to auction them off. pic.twitter.com/NoCEEGQy1t
Schwarzenegger, though, is less than amused at the whole incident. Through an inside source, the actor said German officials never asked for any forms to be filled out for the watch ahead of being detained.
“He was never asked to fill out a declaration form and he answered every question from customs officers honestly,” a source told the New York Post. “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.”
“Arnold agreed to pre-pay potential taxes on the watch and the officers failed to use a credit card machine for an hour until they gave up.”
“The Schwarzenegger Climate Initiative will properly report it, as all of Arnold’s nonprofits do,” the source added. “His charity auctions raise millions of dollars every year for after-school programs for kids all over the United States and environmental work around the world.”
The spokesman then took a shot at German officials, saying, “We hope Germany spends as much energy turning around their economy as they do asking for tax payments for people’s property they bring into the country, and we hope next time they don’t make him pay taxes on his suits.”