On Wednesday, January 17, 2023, bodybuilding icon Arnold Schwarzenegger was detained by the Munich Main Customs Office. Schwarzenegger was held for three hours after officials discovered a luxury watch on his wrist that he did not declare.
The 76-year-old bodybuilder, celebrity, former politician, and world-renowned actor was attempting to travel to Austria. According to Schwarzenegger, he intended to auction off the watch in Kitzbuhel, Austria on Thursday, which was made by luxury Swiss watchmaker, Audemars Piguet worth approximately $21,700. He was subjected to a random search at the Munich Airport by Customs when officials found the undeclared watch.
The watch is special as it features one of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s iconic bodybuilding poses on its case back and is inscribed with the words ‘Arnold Classic’ instead of ‘AP.’ In addition, the watch is said to be more exclusive with possibly only 20 in existence.
Schwarzenegger was scheduled to appear and raise funds for the Schwarzenegger Climate Initiative, a global project dedicated to supporting climate projects. Sources from ABC News indicated that Schwarzenegger was never asked to fill out a declaration form and attempted to pay taxes on the watch at the airport but was unable to.
Arnold Schwarzenegger Detained in Germany After Not Declaring Luxury Watch
During the inspection process, Arnold Schwarzenegger was brought to a different ATM where he could attempt to withdraw money but the limit was insufficient and the bank later closed for the day.
As with all of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s non-profits, they intend to auction the watch, emphasizing that the Schwarzenegger Climate Initiative will properly report it. While Schwarzenegger can continue his travel plans, customs officers have clarified that “the watch will probably have to stay,” as per the customs spokesman Thomas Meister who told Agence France-Presse.
Arnold Schwarzenegger, a former seven-time Mr. Olympia champion, won his first title in 1970, and to this day, he is the youngest person to hold that distinction. In retirement, he remains dedicated to acting and spreading fitness, nutrition, and health advice across different mediums such as podcasts, newsletters, and documentaries. From beating heart disease to gym etiquette rules, Schwarzenegger is an open book since stepping away from the bright lights.
Thomas Meister, spokesperson for the Munich Main Customs Office, shared his thoughts on the situation with the German news outlet, stating:
“We have initiated criminal proceedings under tax law. The watch should have been registered because it is an import,” said the spokesperson.
‘The Austrian Oak’ has become a prominent philanthropist in his later years. As part of a kid’s charity program, After School All-Stars, Schwarzenegger, joined by a host of other action stars such as Dolph Lundgren and Sylvester Stallone raised over $5 million, which all went toward after-school programs, education materials, and exercise lessons for children across 60 cities.
Following his latest ordeal, customs officials underlined that a criminal investigation for possible tax evasion is ongoing. As for bodybuilding legend Arnold Schwarzenegger, he plans to properly report the watch after it has been sold at the auction on January 18, 2024.