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Unpleasant RepercussionsBoxing World Champion Vitali Klitschko must pay 1,500 Euros import duty for his IWC

The import of an undeclared IWC watch and a Montblanc bag has had repercussions for boxing world champion Vitali Klitschko. Both of these articles were confiscated from him by Customs officials at Frankfurt immigration. Now he has been ordered to pay 1,500 euros import duty and VAT. In addition, criminal proceedings were started against him.

Lawyers launch Appeal

Vitali Klitschko's lawyer, Sebastian Cording, requested that the court close the case against his client. In addition, he presented Customs officials with purchase documents and the IWC papers. The IWC watch was a present from the watch manufacturer on the occasion of the Laureus Sport Award in 2007, and the Montblanc bag had been bought by Klitschko's wife in Dusseldorf. Sebastian Cording has appealed against the seizure of the goods and the payment of the fines.

Cards stacked against Vitali Klitschko

Vitali Klitschko was on a return flight from the Ukraine. This is the reason that he would have had to declare the watch and the bag. Now, even with the documents, he doesn't stand much of a chance. One experiences surprises like this with luxury watches over and over again. However, ignorance is no defence. In general, it is advisable for travellers to declare a luxury watch at Customs as they enter or leave a country, and to identify the fact that the VAT has been paid on the article, there and then. Without documents one always runs the risk of being suspected of being a smuggler, and to be treated just like Vitali Klitschko.

It is particularly luxury watches that are currently being acquired in the "non-EU countries“. The low rate of the US dollar and the strength of the Euro are making purchases of branded articles abroad very attractive. But these have to be declared on their import into the EU. Any other course of action is abuse of the law, and Customs officers have been trained to look for new luxury watches on the wrist.