​Foreign diplomats owe £74 million in unpaid C-Charge fines, says TfL

Transport for London has revealed that foreign diplomats are trying to avoid paying a whopping £74-million-worth of congestion charge fines

It says that one in three embassies in the capital is ignoring the charge, with most claiming that it is a local tax.
According to the 1960 Vienna Conventions, foreign diplomats are exempt from paying locally-charged taxes.

However, TfL says that the congestion charge does not fall within the remit of this ruling, as it is a charge for services, rather than a tax.

It's claiming that it's owed a grand total of £74,047,592 by the embassies which choose to ignore the charge.

It says the American Embassy is the biggest debtor, with almost £7.9 million in fines outstanding.

The Embassy of Japan is in second place with a total of just over £5.4 million, while the Embassy of the Russian Federation is third in the table, owing more than £5 million.

The High Commission for the Federal Republic of Nigeria (£4.4 million), and the High Commission for the Federal Republic of Germany (£3.9 million) round out the top five.

The congestion charge costs £10, and is applied every weekday between 7am and 6pm. Motorists who fail to pay the charge are hit with a £130 fine.

A spokesman for the American Embassy said: "The US Embassy in London conscientiously abides by all UK laws, including paying fines for all traffic violations, such as parking and speeding violations.

"Our position on the direct tax established by Transport for London in 2003, more commonly known as the congestion charge, is based on the 1960 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, which prohibits the imposition of this sort of tax on diplomatic missions.

"Our position is wholly in accordance with that agreement to which the United States and the United Kingdom are both signatories, and it is a position shared by many other diplomatic missions in London."
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