Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Diplomatic Immunity: Saudi law can't keep an Irish Ambassador from his drink!

Via the Independent:
Department of Foreign Affairs papers from 1977-78 show the embassy in Jeddah used an Italian company to secretly ship in cases of wine and whiskey. The then ambassador Eamon O'Tuathail insisted cargo documents be marked "preserves or furniture" to throw police off the scent, as Saudi officers were posted on security outside his home and office. Mr O'Tuathail wrote several letters to the Irish embassy in Rome to help arrange the shipments, claiming Trieste-based firm Alberti was the only one willing to falsify documents.
"As usual, Alberti should arrange that the boxes inside the containers should be sealed and have no indication on the outside as to contents," the ambassador wrote to official Billy Hawkes in Rome in February 1978.
"The shipping documents should show 'furniture'. We now have the police sitting outside both the office and residence!"