Foreign diplomats 'owe £50m fines'
Foreign diplomats have racked up £50 million in unpaid fines over the London congestion charge, new figures have shown.
US staff are the worst offenders, notching up 45,005 fines worth more than £5 million between February 2003 and January this year.
Russia, Japan, Germany and Nigeria all have bills for unpaid congestion charge fines running into the millions while even Antigua and Barbuda owes Transport for London more than £100,000.
Adhering to parking regulations also seems to be an issue for foreign diplomats. Last year, there were more than 5,000 parking fines issued against foreign staff, totalling nearly £500,000.
The Chinese managed to rack up 257 fines worth more than £27,000 while Afghanistan was also a serial offender when it came to parking, with 245 unpaid bills.
Councils tried to recoup some of the money but were largely unsuccessful, managing only to raise £105,360 of the outstanding fines.
Drink-driving also posed a problem for some foreign workers with diplomatic immunity. There were eight drink-driving offences last year, three by Saudi Arabian officials.
A Saudi Arabian official was also found to have been involved in offences under the Human Trafficking Act while a worker from the Ivory Coast was suspected of robbery.
The Foreign Office insist that the number of serious offences, given that there are 22,500 people entitled to diplomatic immunity, are relatively low.
The figures were revealed in a series of ministerial statements issued by Foreign Secretary William Hague.