Arnold Schwarzenegger
Then governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and journalist Maria Shriver arrive at the White House in February 2009 AFP / MANDEL NGAN

Actor and former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger was detained at Munich Airport in Germany over a luxury watch. He was held at the airport for over 3 hours for failing to declare an item upon arrival in Germany on Wednesday.

According to European Union rules, anyone who is carrying "cash or certain valuable items" over €10,000 (£8,580) has to declare it.

"He 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," a spokesman for Munich's customs office told broadcaster RTL.

The actor was due to host a charity auction on Thursday in the Austrian ski resort of Kitzbühel. He had reportedly brought the watch into the country as a lot to be sold at the auction, according to an NBC News report.

The auction was organised to support the Schwarzenegger Climate Initiative. "The watch will likely still be auctioned tomorrow, and the Schwarzenegger Climate Initiative will properly report it, as all of Arnold's nonprofits do," NBC quoted a source close to Schwarzenegger as saying.

"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," the source added. The actor was allowed to leave after paying pre-pay potential taxes.

His spokesperson told German publication Bild that the actor "took the incident calmly". An image of the smiling actor holding a box for the watch has even made it to social media platforms.

Some reports have claimed that the watch was custom-made for Schwarzenegger by Swiss luxury watchmaker Audemars Piguet.

Meanwhile, the German authorities have initiated criminal tax proceedings against the actor. "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," added Meister.

Schwarzenegger, a former professional bodybuilder, served as the 38th Governor of California from 2003 to 2011. He is widely known as "The Governator." Despite his political background, he said that he never saw himself as a politician. Instead, he thought of himself as a public servant. He also admitted that he hates politics.

On the work front, The "Terminator" actor was last seen in the Netflix documentary series called Arnold, which shed a light on his career and life.