Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Red Bull family agrees hit-run deal

Red Bull heir Vorayuth Yoovidhya,who is accused of killing a policeman in a hit-and-run accident (AP)

The billionaire family of a Red Bull heir accused of killing a police officer in a hit-and-run has agreed a £60,000 deal that will avoid a civil lawsuit.

Vorayuth Yoovidhya, grandson of the energy drink's inventor, is charged with driving a Ferrari that struck the officer and dragged his body down a Bangkok street earlier this month.

The Yoovidhyas paid the officer's family 3 million baht in a settlement that will protect Vorayuth from a civil lawsuit.

The payment, from a family worth £3.3 billion, will probably do little to quell public outrage over the incident and an initial attempt to cover up Vorayuth's alleged involvement by arresting a bogus suspect.

The payment does not protect 27-year-old Vorayuth from the criminal charge of causing death by reckless driving and fleeing to avoid arrest. If convicted he faces up to 10 years in jail.

A police spokesman said: "We sometimes call this a 'funeral fee.' If the victim's party is satisfied with the amount of money, then they will not seek compensation through a court."

The family owns a wide range of businesses, including shares in the energy drink brand, hospitals, property and the sole authorised importer of Ferrari cars in Thailand.

It is not uncommon for the rich and privileged to get away with crimes in Thailand.

Investigators are waiting for forensic test results before possibly adding more charges against Vorayuth, including speeding, drunken driving and drug use.

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