Vorayuth Yoovidhya charges dropped (Reports).
Charges have been dropped against a Thai heir to the Red Bull energy drink fortune who was accused in a 2012 car crash that killed a Bangkok police officer, police in Thailand said.
Lieutenant Colonel Thanawuth Sanguansuk from Bangkok’s Thong Lor police station confirmed that all charges against Vorayuth Yoovidhya had been dropped. Thanawuth said that the prosecutors who handled the prosecution of the case had informed the police last month that they have decided to drop all charges.
“Yes, they had informed us of their opinion to drop all charges. They are citing the fact the family members are compensated already,” Thanawuth said.
Vorayuth, better known by his nickname “Boss”, was wanted in connection with the September 2012 hit-and-run in which he was accused of crashing his black Ferrari into a policeman on a motorcycle in Bangkok and fleeing the scene, dragging the officer’s body for several dozen metres.
Thai authorities finally issued an arrest warrant for Vorayuth five years after the accident, after he missed eight legal summonses.
He has avoided meeting prosecutors ever since and became a fugitive from justice. What seemed to be a desultory effort by police to track him down fuelled criticism that Thai authorities were lenient with wealthy suspects.
Vorayuth’s family owns about half of the Red Bull empire, which was co-founded by his grandfather. Forbes magazine’s list of the richest families in Thailand places them second, with an estimated wealth of $US20.2 billion ($28.9 billion).
Porn-anant Klunprasert, brother of the dead police officer, acknowledged in a phone call he had signed a contract with the Yoovidhya family in 2012 in which the officer’s survivors agreed not to file criminal and civil charges over the death in exchange for 3 million baht ($133,000) compensation.
However, he expressed regret over the decision of prosecutors to drop charges.
“Many of my friends called to tell me that the state prosecutors have dropped the case,” he said. “It hurts me a lot. It shows no justice for the poor. Thailand has a very wide gap between the rich and the poor in every aspect, and this case is a clear example.”