A prince from Qatar has fled the United States after allegedly drag racing through Beverly Hills and being denied diplomatic immunity from prosecution.
Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad al Thani of Qatar’s ruling family, who is in his twenties, was videotaped running stop signs as he raced through residential neighborhoods in the city, prompting an investigation. When police questioned him, Al Thani denied he had driven recklessly and claimed diplomatic immunity, according to the Los Angeles Times.
According to Beverly Hills police Chief Dominick Rivetti, the police consulted the U.S. State Department and the Qatar consulate and concluded Al Thani had no immunity from prosecution.
The video was posted online by Adam Bornstein, a car enthusiast.The police could not determine who was driving the cars, according to Lt. Lincoln Hoshino.
Al Thani has spent millions of dollars to support Al-Anabi Racing, a professional drag-racing team. Del Worsham, Al-Anabi’s Funny Car driver, said in 2009, “For Khalid this isn’t about selling more soda. It’s about making Qatar a major player in worldwide drag racing. To do that he realizes he’s got to first become a major player on the U.S. circuit.” Al Thani spent an estimated $10 million on the team in 2009.
Al Anabi won championships in top fuel in 2010, 2011 and 2013 using three different drivers. But in January, Al Thani’s estimated annual $10 million sponsorship suddenly disappeared; drag-racing crew chief Alan Johnson said Al Thani had “terminated funding,” which was “completely unexpected.”