Arnold Schwarzenegger faces tax probe in Germany over luxury watch

Schwarzenegger allegedly failed to declare an Audemars Piguet watch, which is valued at about 20,000 euros ($21,739).
Actor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Posted at 7:44 PM, Jan 18, 2024

Arnold Schwarzenegger was detained for hours at Munich Airport over a luxury watch that was intended for a charity auction, and now he faces criminal tax proceedings.

The "Terminator" actor and former California governor was questioned for 2 1/2 hours during a routine check when he arrived in Germany on Wednesday because he had a luxury watch on him that he was taking to be auctioned at a charity event for the Schwarzenegger Climate Initiative in Austria.

In Europe, items exceeding 430 euros ($467) in value intended to remain in the European Union must be declared, with any applicable duties paid. But according to the German daily Bild, the first to report on the incident, Schwarzenegger allegedly did not declare an Audemars Piguet watch, which is valued at about 20,000 euros ($21,739).

According to an NBC News report, Schwarzenegger cooperated with authorities and he agreed to pay the taxes on his watch. However, Munich's customs office has started criminal tax proceedings, according to the office's spokesperson Thomas Meister. 

“Criminal tax proceedings have been initiated by us. This will then be processed by our criminal and fines office. It’s too early to say what the outcome will be. There are many factors that have to be taken into account. It will still take some time,” said Meister speaking to German broadcaster RTL.

Now, the issue goes to a customs penalty body in Augsburg, where they will assess the case.