Egyptian diplomats owe $2m in unpaid parking tickets to NYC

Ahram Online, Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

Egypt tops list of 180 countries owing a combined $16 million in parking tickets to the home of UN headquarters

New York City traffic lights (Photo: Reuters)

Egypt owes a whopping $2 million in unpaid parking tickets to New York City, topping a list of more than 180 countries which owe a total of $16 million to city authorities, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The decades-old problem has resurfaced as world leaders, including Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, have gathered in Manhattan this week for the 69th General Assembly of the United Nations.

Asked about Egypt's embarrassing record, Ahmed Sharaf, a spokesman for Egypt's UN mission, told the WSJ, "I don't have details about the subject, unfortunately."

Egypt's diplomatic missions in New York have accumulated over 17,000 summonses for parking violations, with Nigeria as a distant second with 7,638 summonses, according to figures obtained by the WSJ from the NYC Department of Finance.

Diplomats from other nations have had to dodge similar questions this week.

"I don't know why I should be the one to talk," Tope Ade Elias-Fatile, senior councillor and head of media at Nigeria's mission to the UN told the WSJ when asked about Nigeria's $894,000 in unpaid tickets.

According to the WSJ, most of the debt, $15.6 million, dates back to parking tickets issued to diplomatic vehicles before 2002, when the city decided to crack down on parking violations under the administration of former mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Egyptian businessmen have launched a "New Egypt" campaign with large banners in Times Square and other parts of the city in an effort to attract tourism and foreign investments to the country after nearly four years of political turmoil that have decimated the country's economy.


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