This photo, taken on September 3, 2012, shows police looking at a Ferrari allegedly involved in a hit-and-run accident involving the heir to the Red Bull billions. Photo: AFP/STR

Charges against the heir to the Red Bull billions, accused of killing a Thai police officer when he crashed his Ferrari in a 2012 hit-and-run, have been dropped, officials said Friday, without explanation.

Vorayuth “Boss” Yoovidhya fled to Singapore on his private jet in 2017 days before an arrest warrant was issued over the incident, stirring outrage among the Thai public over the culture of impunity enjoyed by the kingdom’s rich.

The warrant came five years after he allegedly knocked over and killed the policeman near his compound in Bangkok’s most exclusive neighborhood.

Several charges against Vorayuth expired during the time between the incident and his arrest warrant being issued, a period that saw the heir continue to lead a lavish, jet-setting lifestyle with frequent stops in the kingdom.

On Friday, Thai police said the remaining charges – including one for reckless driving, which can carry up to a decade in jail – had been dropped, several years before the statute of limitations were set to expire.

“The Attorney General’s Office has decided to drop all charges against Vorayuth Yoovidhya … therefore this case has legally ended,” according to a police document dated June 18 signed by Lt-Gen Thanawut Sanguansook, deputy commander of Thonglor Police station.

The officer verified the document, adding “his arrest warrant has been revoked and this case has ended.”

He did explain why the case had been dropped.

A court spokesman said police have revoked an Interpol Red Notice for Boss’ arrest and the “court will proceed to revoke his arrest warrant.”

The whereabouts of “Boss” were not immediately clear. But in the years since the incident, he has been photographed living a glamorous life in London, among other places, as well as being spotted on Bangkok’s party scene.

His case, which saw a family employee initially take the blame for driving the car before media scrutiny forced police to review their investigation, has become symbolic of Thailand’s culture of impunity.

Vorayuth’s side of the family has inherited the fortune built up by his grandfather Chaleo Yoovidhya, who co-founded the Red Bull brand with Austrian Dietrich Mateschitz in the 1980s.

Chaleo died in March 2012, leaving his family some US$22 billion and control of more than 50% of the energy drink empire, according to Bloomberg News.

AFP

Asia Times Financial is now live. Linking accurate news, insightful analysis and local knowledge with the ATF China Bond 50 Index, the world's first benchmark cross sector Chinese Bond Indices. Read ATF now.