Thailand’s investigation into a fugitive Red Bull heir accused of killing a police officer in a high-speed Ferrari crash took a new turn when a top prosecutor called the case to a halt last night.
Charges against Yoravuth ‘Boss’ Yoovid for the 2012 clash were dropped last month, sparking outrage in Thailand – but the case has since reopened and police have been given 10 days to present new findings.
Deputy Attorney General Nate Naksuk, who made the decision to dismiss the case in June, has now resigned as police consider new charges.
New evidence suggests that Yoravuth was driving his Ferrari faster than previously thought, authorities say, while evidence of cocaine use is resurfacing after it was previously ignored.
Yoravuth – the grandson of Red Bull co-founder Chaleo Yoovidhya and heir to a $ 20 billion family fortune – has not answered eight separate court subpoenas and his whereabouts are currently unknown.
The case has long sparked anger in Thailand over the perception that the kingdom’s powerful billionaire class is above the law.
Charges against Yoravuth ‘Boss’ Yoovid (pictured) for the 2012 Ferrari collision that killed a police officer in Thailand were dropped last month, but the case has since reopened
Police officers look at the damaged Ferrari after the 2012 collision in Bangkok during a long-drawn-out investigation
The attorney general’s office announced last night that it is investigating whether it is breaking the law by dropping charges against Yoravuth.
Naksuk has resigned as deputy attorney general to show his “ spirit ” and allow himself to prove he acted correctly, authorities said.
According to CNNThe Attorney General’s Office has given the police 10 days to file a report on Yoravuth’s speed and possible cocaine use.
Vorayuth was charged with crashing the Ferrari against police officer Wichien Klanprasert and dragging his body across the road to Bangkok, killing him in September 2012.
The officer and his mutilated motorcycle were towed several dozen meters before his body fell to the road.
Police followed a liquid trail to the nearby Yoovidhya family property, where they found the car with a shattered windshield and damaged bumper.
A driver was initially blamed for the collision, but Vorayuth later admitted to being the driver.
It was previously said that the speed of the Ferrari of Vorayuth was 80 km / h at the time of the accident.
However, an expert opinion not previously included in the police report suggested that Vorayuth could have gone as fast as 170 mph.
“This is new evidence under the law,” prosecutor spokesman Prayut Phetkun said earlier this month.
Yoravurth (photo second from right) has not answered numerous court subpoenas and his current whereabouts are unknown
In April 2017, Red Bull’s heir was seen leaving a £ 6.5m home in Knightsbridge, West London
In addition, traces of cocaine were found in Vorayuth’s system after the accident, according to a police report.
Police told a parliamentary committee they had not brought charges against drugs because Vorayuth’s dentist said the cocaine was administered for dental treatment.
However, the attorney general’s office has now instructed the police to re-investigate the cocaine issue.
The case is widely seen as an example of how the rich and well-connected people enjoy impunity from the law in Thailand.
The Yoovidhya family is listed by Forbes as the second richest in Thailand, with an estimated net worth of $ 20.2 billion.
In a different turn last month, a defensive witness who held the key to clearing Vorayuth’s name was himself killed in a motorcycle accident in the northern city of Chiang Mai.
Charuchart Martthong had told investigators that Vorayuth was not speeding, an account apparently delivered years after the accident in 2012.
The probes launched by multiple Thai agencies would likely have questioned the truck driver again.
His sudden death on July 30 prompted Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to order another autopsy.
The former military general urged the public to calm down last week, calling on them to be patient for the results of the investigation.
The scene of the crash, with the damaged Ferarri and motorcycle, after the high-speed collision that killed a Thai police officer
Public outcry and calls for a boycott of Red Bull followed the announcement that the charges were dropped last month.
Police said arrest warrants for Vorayuth would be withdrawn and a red notice from Interpol would be withdrawn.
Documents leaked to Thai media later claimed that two new eyewitnesses had come forward to say the crash was the police officer’s fault.
In addition, new expert witnesses had claimed that Vorayuth had not exceeded the speed limit, it was alleged.
“This case is over,” said Deputy Police Spokesman Kissana Phathanacharoen in a newsletter at the time.
However, the police, government, and attorney general’s office have all since announced that they will open an investigation.
Vorayuth missed eight subpoenas to appear in court before authorities issued a warrant for his arrest, five years after the collision.
His current whereabouts are unknown – although he was seen in London in 2017 – and his Thai passports were subsequently revoked.
Voyaruth’s grandfather Chaleo founded Red Bull in 1987 after partnering with Austrian magnate Dietrich Mateschitz to customize a drink popular among Thai workers and taxi drivers.
Red Bull is credited with introducing the energy drink concept to Europe and North America and now sells more than seven billion cans per year.
After gaining popularity in Europe, Red Bull entered the US market in 1997, starting in California and later spreading across the country.
In addition to the beverage empire, the company has also become a major player in the sports world with its own Formula 1 team and a range of other franchises.
Chaleo was listed as the third richest person in Thailand at the time of his death in 2012, at the age of 88.