Foreign embassies owe Londoners almost £90m in unpaid Congestion Charge fines

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Foreign embassies owe Londoners almost £90m in unpaid Congestion Charge fines, according to new figures.

The worst offenders are the Americans, who face a bill for £9.7m, the Japanese, who owe £6.5m, and the Nigerians who have a debt of £5.5m.

Credit: PA

Almost 150 countries refuse to pay the daily charge of £11.50. Every unpaid charge incurs a £165 fine.

The Congestion Charge was introduced by London's first elected mayor, Ken Livingstone, in 2003.

In 2006 Livingstone likened the US Ambassador to a 'chiselling little crook' for refusing to accept liability for the charge.

The Foreign Office also released details of other unpaid fines and taxes owed by foreign embassies and high commissions.

Credit: PA

Nigerian diplomats owe almost £50,000 in parking fines. Zambian officials have failed to pay £43,000 and Saudi diplomats owe £26,00.

Transport for London said the government regards the C Charge as a levy for a service and not a tax.

This means that diplomats are not exempt from paying it. Around two-thirds of embassies in London do pay the charge, but there remains a stubborn minority who refuse to do so, despite our representations through diplomatic channels. We will continue to pursue all unpaid Congestion Charge fees and related penalty charge notices and are pushing for the matter to be taken up at the International Court of Justice.

Paul Cowperthwaite, Transport for London

Here's the list in full:

  • America: £9,687,070

  • Japan: £6,529,400

  • Nigeria: £5,489,430

  • Russia: £5,363225

  • Germany: £4,075,125

  • India: £4,023,580

  • Poland: £3,233,185

  • Ghana: £2,918,015

  • Sudan: £2,606,855

  • China: £2,362,535

  • Kazakhstan: £2,356,635

  • Kenya: £2,117,565

  • France: £1,854,780

  • Spain: £1,733,000

  • Tanzania: £1,592,950

  • Pakistan: £1,533,090

  • Korea: £1,480,445

  • Romania: £1,446,735

  • Greece: £1,358,082

  • Ukraine: £1,321,950

  • Cuba: £1,261,185

  • South Africa: £1,244,240

  • Algeria: £1,239,820

  • Sierra Leone: £1,182,345

  • Hungary: £967,580

  • Yemen: £781,750

  • Zambia: £778,860

Source: TfL