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Last Updated: Friday, 15 August, 2003, 03:54 GMT 04:54 UK
Saudi diplomat expelled from UK
A Saudi Arabian diplomat has been forced to leave Britain following allegations that he bribed a police officer.

The Foreign Office (FO) said the man had left the UK after it raised its concerns with the Saudi ambassador about the diplomat's activities.

The Metropolitan Police confirmed that an officer had been charged with misconduct and is currently facing prosecution.

The Foreign Office refused to discuss details of the allegations facing the diplomat, who is named by several newspapers as "intelligence officer" Ali al-Shamarani.

The FO said: "We raised the case of a Saudi diplomat with the Saudi ambassador and we requested that he leave the country."

"He has now left and is no longer accredited to the Saudi mission in London."

Scotland Yard said the police officer was based in Hammersmith and Fulham in west London.

He was arrested and suspended on 16 July and charged with "misconduct in a public office contrary to common law" following an investigation by anti-corruption officers.

He appeared in court on Wednesday, and was bailed until 8 October.

Bombing campaign

The diplomat's expulsion from Britain comes at a time of strained relations between the two countries.

British Airways has suspended all flights to the kingdom amid fears that its planes could be targeted by terrorists.

And the release from prison of six Britons alleged to have taken part in a bombing campaign has heightened concern about their convictions and treatment by the Saudis.

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