Diplomats have abused their power since long ago times but here we make a list of some of the most strong cases. From breaking the law and getting away with crimes to corrupt politicians abusing diplomatic immunity, this top 10 list of diplomatic corruption is upsetting!
In 2010, Mohammed al-Madani, an envoy from Qatar, was flying from Washington, D.C., to Denver, when he suddenly wanted to smoke a cigarette. Almost every single airline forbids smoking on flights, and people have to wait to fulfill their craving until landing. Al-Madadi, though, felt that rule didn’t apply to him.
Al-Madadi slipped into the bathroom, turned off the smoke alarm, and took out a pipe. Eventually, a flight attendant smelled smoke and became suspicious. When he came out of the smoke-filled bathroom with a lighter in his hand, the flight attendant confronted him.
Al-Madadi, possibly offended that a mere peasant addressed him, gave a blank stare before responding that he been trying to light his shoes on fire as a sarcastic reference to Richard Reid’s post shot attempt. Unfazed, the flight attendant asked al-Madani for his lighter, which he, of course, refused to hand over.
There happened to be U.S. Marshals on the flight. When they heard about what was happening, they grabbed him, put him in his seat and, alerted the pilot of the situation. The pilot then sent out a status report, which prompted fighter jets to be sent out to the plane and actually alerting President Obama about a scenario.
Marshals detained Al-Madadi upon landing, which is when they found out that he was on his way to meet with someone who was implicated. At this point, al-Madadi invoked diplomatic immunity and he returned to Qatar a free man.
The North American’s Leadership Summit is an annual event between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico with the sole purpose of strengthening the bonds between the three nations. But that’s not what happened at the summit.
At the meetings, participants left their phones on a table in a high-security room outside the conference rooms, including a number of White House staffers. When they returned later, the phones were missing. Panic ensued.
Someone thought to check the security cameras, which showed Mexican press attache Rafael Quintero Curiel entering the high-security room and taking the phones. The Secret Service sent teams of agents to the airport, where the Mexican delegation waited for their flight back home. When the teams confronted Curial, he claimed he had no idea what they were talking about.
They then showed him the footage and he changed his story. The whole thing was an accident. He only found the phones, thought they were lost and decided to take them. Never mind that leaving these phones in a security room was a well-known practice.
At this point, Curiel invoked diplomatic immunity. The agents’ only choice was to allow him to leave but they got the phones back first. In the end, the Mexican government fired Curiel but that was it. Not a good move for his career.
A diplomatic bag is, by law, any item identified as such and capable of holding items used by diplomats or representatives of foreign nations. It can be a bag, box, or satchel. Law enforcement cannot take a diplomatic bag or search it. Everything within it is untouchable.
As you might expect, some countries have gotten creative about breaking the law while using these bags. In 1984, Umaru Dikko, a former minister of Nigeria, moved to England after causing trouble by speaking out against his government and criticizing them at every turn. He also enjoyed lashing out at Israel. This led to Nigeria and Israel teaming up for a scheme worthy of Hollywood.
After successfully kidnapping and drugging Dikko, the joint Nigerian-Israeli squad took him to the airport. The next problem was how to get him on a plane? They placed Dikko in a wooden crate and tagged it as a diplomatic bag. However, someone forgot to fill out the proper paperwork for diplomatic baggage. When Dikko came around and started moving in his wooden prison, the officials decided to look inside, despite the tag. Customs got Dikko out, and the kidnappers were arrested.