So here’s the full rundown of nefarious deeds by various Middle East embassies and diplomats in London last year. The Foreign Office put out the numbers yesterday. As of 7 May this year, Iraq owed £19,533 for outstanding domestic rates bills, which covers things like street cleaning, lighting, fire services and the like. Tunisia owed £30,869.
Parking fines are more widely ignored. Saudi Arabia has 169 parking fines outstanding, worth £15,440 or about 240 barrels of oil at current prices. It’s third overall in the list, behind China, Afghanistan and Turkey.
Egypt owes £7,180 for 72 parking fines. Next is Tunisia (68 fines, £7,080) and then Jordan (76, £6,790). Also owing money are Sudan (48, £4,920); Qatar (41, £4,500); Iraq (41, £4,180); Libya (33, £3,530); Oman (31, £2,860); Kuwait (24, £2,700); Iran (27; £2,660); Yemen (25; £2,300); and finally Lebanon (16, £1,520).
The UAE, which had almost £25,000 in unpaid parking fines this time last year, seems to have cleared its account.
London’s Congestion Charge is ignored by 62 diplomatic missions and the worst offender is the US which owes more than £5 million in unpaid fines for this. But the Middle East is well represented too. Sudan owes £1.5 million; Algeria owes £769,000; Yemen owes £542,000; Egypt owes £173,000; and Saudi Arabia £143,000. Others may owe money too, but the Foreign Office doesn’t even bother listing those owing less than £100,000.
And finally, the Saudis once again top the drink-driving table. Two of its diplomats were arrested for drink-driving in 2010 and another for drink-driving without insurance. One Algerian also claimed diplomatic immunity after being caught driving under the influence, as did one Egyptian for driving without insurance. In addition, for the second year in a row, one Saudi was caught under the Human Trafficking Act but claimed immunity.