Bild (the German version of USA Today and the National Enquirer).....had an unusal brief piece yesterday in their paper. A message of sorts has gone out from the German national customs office (Berlin) to all of their customs agents.
The message basically says that all VIPs, "stars", and known political figures are to be noted as quickly as possible to the Berlin customs authority for Germany (the national guys). Did they mean just German VIPs, "stars" and political figures re-entering Germany? No....they meant everyone, to include French "stars", English prominent characters, American movie stars, Hillary Clinton, etc.
The cause for this order? Unknown. No explanation was given, and so far....Bild has not gotten to the bottom of this episode.
The trigger? I might take a guess on two fronts.
First, a number of Hollywood-like characters will sign a contract to fly in....attend a function, pose for advertising of a German product, or spend three weeks touring Germany with their band. The income from this project....I'm guessing....ought to be completely German-taxed. I'm taking a guess that the vast number of visitors coming in, and claiming some VIP-status....aren't figuring German taxes into their project.
The recent Hillary tour? I'm taking a guess that she got paid some minor fee for TV appearances.....but maybe a fair amount of a fee for some foundation dinners that she attended while in Germany. The customs folks might be asking questions and trying to figure out the way that these people settle up taxes.
The other issue? Well....some folks fly in and deliver bank-bonds for their friends from rich circles.....to some Swiss organizations that handle investments. Rarely do the VIPs get checked intensely or have their bags checked completely. If you remember the Don Johnson-affair from a decade ago.....roughly a billion in bonds was in the briefcase that the Germans examined prior to Don crossing the border.
Who makes the VIP list? That's an interesting thing too. There are thousands of US known prominent folks. A lot of TV stars simply aren't well known in Germany. Same for country and western stars.
Will any German news media organization dig into this? No. They will simply let it sit there and become a lost story by this afternoon. That's the curious thing about German investigative journalism.....unless some political figure walks in and spells out the mess in great detail....they just aren't willing to dig into stories.
Would the US customs folks react the same way? Well....other than "Mutti" (Merkel), Steffi Graf, and Boris Becker (the former tennis star)......there's just about no German that would be recognized at JFK's entry point. They might even confuse Heino as being some Texas Democratic Senator, or a Greek opera star.