Monday, 18 June 2012


It is an unfortunate sign of our times that deadbeats will welch on their financial responsibilities to their hosts and those whom they do business with if they get a chance and diplomats and members of royal families all have diplomatic immunity which means that can’t be successfully sued in the countries where they residing in other than their own if they incur debts and refuse to pay them.  

Saudi Arabia

If you were trying to dodge paying a hotel bill of $7,687,950.00 US, you might just slip out of a side door and walk away quietly with some hand luggage. However, when a Saudi princess tried it from a five-star establishment in Paris, she was just a little bit too noticeable. Picture her slipping out of the front entrance to the hotel with her retinue of 60 servants in tow and a mountain of suitcases. The princess had previously arrived in Paris with her entourage on December 23 last year and booked out an entire 41-room floor of the Shangri-La.

Princess Maha Al-Sudairi’s planned escape was obviously destined to end in farce and fiasco. She and her entourage were instantly spotted by staff when filing out of the exclusive Shangri-La hotel at 3.30 am on June 1st 2012.

They called the police and the wayward ex-wife of Saudi Crown Prince and Deputy Prime Minister Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz who is second-in-line to the Saudi throne was stopped as her extensive luggage was being bundled into a fleet of limousines.

Most offenders in her position would have been arrested on the spot, charged and perhaps would already be behind bars. But because the princess is protected by diplomatic immunity, police were unable to arrest or even charge her with an offence. Instead the French authorities can only approach the Saudi Embassy in a bid to get them to help the hotel get its money. Good luck on that prospect.                                                                
In the meantime, the princess and her small army of servants have been offered refuge from their troubles at another luxury hotel, the Royal Monceau, near the Champs-Elysees. The five-star hotel is owned by ‘family friend’, the Emir of Qatar, who has offered to put her up while the matter is resolved.

Obviously some people don’t appear to appreciate that old saying, “Fool me once, it’s your shame. Fool me twice and it’s my shame.” The Emir’s version of that saying appears to be, “Fool me once and it’s my shame. Fool me twice and I will let you fool me again.”

In June 2009, she claimed diplomatic immunity in France after amassing $23,064,148.00 in unpaid shopping bills, including $92,236.00 on designer lingerie alone. The following year, she was once again bailed out by her oil-rich government after she ordered $27,668 worth of glassware and silverware from a Paris store. While staying at a different five-star hotel in Paris, this deadbeat spent money like it was going out of style. She was accompanied by a representative of her entourage, who would present store managers with an official ‘payment to follow’ document. Unfortunately, such payments never did.

Up until sometime last year, she had been confined to a palace in the middle eastern state by Saudi King Abdullah after she was discovered leaving behind a trail of unpaid bills with luxury firms across Europe, which included Dior and  jewellery outlets such as Chaumet and Victoria Casal.

Did the king really believe that this deadbeat had reformed when he released her?

Another Saudi royal, Princess Hind al-Fassi, was found guilty by an Egyptian court of not paying for more than $1m worth of jewelry from a Cairo jewelry shop.

I think by now, stores, restaurants and hotels everywhere, should be very wary of any members of Saudi royalty who wants to purchase goods, eat at restaurants or stay at hotels. The hints that something might be wrong that they should be looking for are the costs of what the goods, the dinners and lodging are going to be. If they are really extravagant, run for cover. Further, all deadbeat members of Saudi royalty should be forbidden to re-enter any country where the stores, restaurants and hotels have been defrauded by these deadbeats.


Kwadwo Nyamekye is a native of Ghana. He was a senior consultant to the U.N.'s Centre for Human Rights in Geneva, where he earns a tax-free $150,000 salary a year. He fathered a son out of wedlock in New York in 1981, and yet he paid almost nothing to support his son until 1996. Meanwhile he had been collecting large U.N. child-support and education allowances for his child and not passing them on to the child’s mother. In January 1995, the mother of this deadbeat’s American son, furious at U.N. stonewalling, filed a petition for support in the Family Court. Nyamekye finally agreed to pay $1,000 per month in child support as well as the tuition for the boy's private school.

But Nyamekye didn't honour his commitment. After much hand-wringing, the U.N. told him that unless he submitted to income deduction for the payments, the organization would fire him, though that would be no help to mother and child. Even now, the farce continued. After withholding money from several of Nyamekye's paychecks, the U.N. then spent months dithering over where to send it. Was it to go to the mother or to the court? No one at the U.N. wanted to decide. Finally, the U.N. got off its rhetorical ass and sent the money to the court.

I believe that he is currently a minister in the Ghanaian government.

Republic of Cameroon

A huge luxurious home with large grounds at 50 Montgomery Circle, in the City of Rochelle is owned by the Republic of Cameroon as its diplomatic residence and according to a recent report, its owners owe $1.4 million in back taxes with respect to its sewers and garbage pickup. The city has unsuccessfully tried collecting the delinquent property, school and sewer taxes dating as far back as 1995, but officials can’t foreclose on the property because Cameroon, which is a west African country, has diplomatic immunity.

Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) wants them owing on the back taxes and interest to the city of New Rochelle, to pay up. So far, they haven’t paid up. If their nation can’t afford to pay the taxes, it shouldn’t have their diplomatic residence in such luxurious surroundings.

The only way to make them pay is to boot out each of their diplomats within 30 days of their arrival if they still refuse to pay the arrears taxes.

An official at Cameroon’s mission to the United Nations who declined to be identified said the dispute with New Rochelle had been resolved and that Cameroon had paid some of its garbage and sewer fees. New Rochelle officials dispute that.

Equatorial Guinea

This small nation a former Spanish colony slightly smaller in size than the state of Maryland, owes the city of Mount Vernon $14,810.41 for similar debts dating back to 1989. It too has refused to pay up.

Mount Vernon Comptroller Maureen Walker, referring to that country said, “It could be that we haven’t received any response from them because they didn’t think they had to pay so they just ignored it.”


Yonkers in New York issued liens against Nigeria in 2006 and again in 2010 for $13,318.71 in unpaid taxes with respect to sewer and garbage pickup on a house at 26 Eton Road.

Republic of Congo

Congo-Brazzaville, also known as the Republic of the Congo, owes Eastchester $6,419.30 for taxes for the same as the others and they have not paid them since 2008.

There are exemptions
Foreign governments receive exemptions because of treaties signed by the federal government, including the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961. That treaty, in addition to the U.S. Foreign Missions Act, exempts from real property taxes all homes owned by foreign governments to house staff of embassies, permanent missions to the United Nations or consular posts. Despite these treaties and laws, local governments are allowed to collect taxes for sewers which are not exempt under various state’s Real Property Tax Law.

Not all of foreign diplomats are tax deadbeats, but some certainly are; For example,

On the heels of a judge’s decision in 2008 that said India, Mongolia and the Philippines owe the city almost $58 million in property taxes; there were renewed Congressional efforts to make them pay up.

Consulates and Missions are generally tax exempt, but Judge Jed S. Rakoff of the United States District Court in Manhattan ruled that foreign nations must pay taxes on those parts of their properties that are used for non-diplomatic purposes like housing low-level staff or operating businesses.

Representative Vito J. Fossella, a Republican from Staten Island, said at that time that he would introduce legislation that would deduct all of the amounts of property taxes and parking fines owed by any nation from its foreign aid. A similar provision has been in place as part of Congressional spending bills since 2005, but it only covers the period from April 1, 1997, to Sept. 30, 2007 I don’t know if it still applies.

At the same time, United States Senator Charles E. Schumer, a Democrat, called on the State Department to pressure the countries to pay their tax bills, or withhold a comparable amount of those countries foreign aid as is required by the appropriations provision. Because it is dealing with sovereign nations, the city cannot enforce liens by foreclosing on the buildings, as it usually could.

Perhaps these deadbeat diplomats who don't honour their commitments owing to their hosts think that their host's largesse is part of that country's foreign aid.

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