London Slaps Barack Obama’s Motorcade with a $194 Congestion Fine

The long-standing diplomatic brawl between the US Embassy in Britain and the local authorities over the subject of congestion fines continues. In this latest episode, Barack Obama’s presidential motorcade has been fined £120 (about $194 or €137) for not paying the £10 congestion levy during his official State visit to Britain back in May. According to news reports from the United Kingdom, security cameras were able to capture only one of the cars in the convoy due to the fact that they were driving so close together. That is the only vehicle to receive the £120 fine. A spokesperson for the Transport for London issued this statement: “Any vehicle, regardless of where it is registered, which is identified within the Congestion Charging Zone during the hours of operation without a valid charge, discount or exemption can be subject to a penalty. TfL pursues penalties from foreign registered vehicles that have not paid the charge.” Currently, foreign embassies owe UK authorities around £50million in unpaid congestion charge fines along with £491,000 in parking tickets and £566,000 in non-domestic rates. The US Embassy in particular is said to owe local authorities more than £5 million (US$8.1 million) for some 45,000 unpaid congestion charge fines, but refuses to pay the tab claiming that the 1960 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations “prohibits the imposition of this sort of tax on diplomatic missions”. Story Source: The London Standard