Arnold Schwarzenegger, the famous actor and former governor of California, was arrested at Munich airport on Tuesday, January 16, 2024, for failing to declare a luxury watch worth over $100,000. He was detained by customs officers and faced criminal tax proceedings for evading import duties. This incident added to the legal troubles that Schwarzenegger has been facing in recent years, both in the US and abroad. In this article, we will examine the details of his arrest, his reaction, and his ongoing lawsuits.
Arnold Schwarzenegger Detained at Munich Airport
Schwarzenegger was traveling from Los Angeles to Munich to attend a climate change conference, where he was expected to deliver a keynote speech. He arrived at the airport around 10 a.m. local time and was stopped by customs officers for a routine check. They found a Rolex Daytona watch on his wrist, which he had not declared on his customs form. The watch was estimated to be worth over $100,000, which exceeded the allowed limit of $10,000 for personal items.
According to German law, any goods that exceed the value of $10,000 must be declared and taxed at the customs. The tax rate for luxury watches is 19%, which means that Schwarzenegger owed about $19,000 in import duties. He claimed that he was not aware of the law and that he had bought the watch as a gift for himself. He offered to pay the tax on the spot, but the customs officers refused and took him to a separate room for further questioning.
The officers initiated criminal tax proceedings against Schwarzenegger, which could result in a fine or a prison sentence of up to five years. They also confiscated his watch and his passport, and informed him that he would not be allowed to leave the country until the case was resolved. Schwarzenegger was reportedly shocked and angry by the arrest, and demanded to speak to his lawyer and the US consulate.
Schwarzenegger’s arrest made headlines around the world, and sparked a lot of reactions from his fans, critics, and fellow celebrities. He also broke his silence on the matter, and expressed his frustration and disbelief on social media and television.
On Wednesday, January 17, 2024, he posted a video on Twitter, where he showed his empty wrist and said: “Look at this. No watch. They took my watch. Can you believe it? I came here to talk about saving the planet, and they arrested me for a watch. A watch! This is ridiculous. This is a joke. This is not how you treat a former governor and a movie star. I will fight this. I will get my watch back. And I will get justice.”
On Thursday, January 18, 2024, he appeared on Monday Night Football, where he was interviewed by his friend and former co-star Sylvester Stallone. He repeated his claims of innocence and ignorance, and said that he was being treated unfairly by the German authorities. He also used the opportunity to voice his opinions on the current state of American politics, and his dissatisfaction with the Republican Party, which he had left in 2020.
He said: “You know, Sly, I used to be a proud Republican. I used to believe in the values of freedom, democracy, and the American dream. But look at what the GOP has become. They have become a party of lies, corruption, and extremism. They have betrayed the people and the Constitution. They have supported a president who incited a violent insurrection at the Capitol. They have opposed every effort to combat climate change, which is the biggest threat to our future. They have lost their way, and their soul. That’s why I left them. And that’s why I’m here, in Germany, to join the global movement for a net-zero carbon world. Because that’s the only way to save our planet, and our children.”
Schwarzenegger’s Legal Troubles
Schwarzenegger’s arrest at Munich airport was not the first time that he faced legal issues in his career. In fact, he has been involved in several lawsuits, both as a plaintiff and a defendant, in the past few years. Here are some of the most notable ones:
- In 2022, he was sued by Jerry Brown, the former governor of California, for allegedly misusing public funds during his tenure as governor from 2003 to 2011. Brown accused Schwarzenegger of spending millions of dollars on private jets, hotels, and security, without proper authorization or documentation. Schwarzenegger denied the allegations and countersued Brown for defamation and political harassment. The case was settled out of court in 2023, with both parties agreeing to drop the charges and pay their own legal fees.
- In 2023, he settled a lawsuit with MusclePharm, a fitness and nutrition company, for $2.5 million. Schwarzenegger had sued the company in 2016, for using his name and likeness without his consent to promote their products. He claimed that the company had breached their contract, which gave him the right to approve or reject any use of his image or endorsement. The company argued that they had a valid license to use his name and likeness, and that they had paid him royalties for their sales. The case was resolved in 2023, with the company agreeing to pay Schwarzenegger $2.5 million and to stop using his name and likeness in their marketing.
- In 2024, he initiated a lawsuit against the US government, along with several other celebrities and environmental activists, for failing to take adequate action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. He claimed that the government had violated the public trust doctrine, which holds that the government has a duty to protect the natural resources that belong to the people. He demanded that the government adopt a comprehensive plan to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, and to provide regular reports on its progress. The lawsuit was still pending at the time of his arrest.
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s arrest at Munich airport was a surprising and embarrassing event for the actor and former governor, who was in Germany to attend a climate change conference. He was accused of evading import duties on a luxury watch worth over $100,000, and faced criminal tax proceedings that could land him in jail. He denied any wrongdoing and expressed his outrage and disbelief on social media and television. He also used the platform to criticize the Republican Party and to advocate for a net-zero carbon world. His arrest added to the legal troubles that he has been facing in recent years, both in the US and abroad, for various reasons. He has been involved in several lawsuits, both as a plaintiff and a defendant, related to his political, business, and environmental activities. He has shown that he is not afraid to fight for his rights and his causes, but he has also faced a lot of challenges and controversies along the way. He has proven to be a resilient and influential figure, but also a controversial and divisive one. He has been a hero and a villain, a leader and a rebel, a star and a pariah. He has been, in his own words, “a terminator, a governor, and a watch collector”.