A Qatar national suspected of being behind the wheel of a high-end sports car that was caught on video racing with another sports car along a Beverly Hills street has apparently left the country, police said Thursday, and investigators found his claim that he has diplomatic immunity to be “unlikely.”
The pricey sports cars were caught on video about 6:45 p.m. Saturday speeding in the 700 block of North Walden Drive, Beverly Hills police Lt. Lincoln Hoshino said.
Police responded to the scene and talked to residents who complained about the “reckless driving” involving a yellow Ferrari and white Porsche, which were found parked in the driveway of a home on the street, Hoshino said. Since the officers did not witness any of the alleged speeding of stop-sign running, they were unable to take any immediate action, Hoshino said.
While officers were investigating, however, a man approached them and said the cars belonged to him. He “denied driving at a high rate of speed, running stop signs or driving recklessly,” Hoshino said.
Videos posted on Instagram and YouTube and reviewed by Beverly Hills police showed the 12-cylinder Ferrari burning rubber as it roared down North Walden Drive, followed by the Porsche 911 GT3. The video did not show who was behind the wheel of either car, and no witnesses stepped forward to positively identify the drivers.
The man who said he owns the cars told police he is a foreign national with diplomatic immunity. Police contacted the U.S. State Department to try to verify the claim.
“Through law enforcement sources, Qatar national Sheikh Khalid Hamad Al- Thani has been connected with the yellow Ferrari depicted in the video,” Beverly Hills police Chief Dominick Rivetti told reporters.
“In addition, our federal counterparts with the U.S. Department of State contacted the Qatari consulate to convey the city’s perspective of the incident, and our outrage,” Rivetti said.
Hoshino said police believe Al-Thani has left the country, adding that police believe it is “unlikely that the drivers had diplomatic immunity.”
Police noted that it is violation of federal law to falsely claim diplomatic immunity. They also said such immunity does not give anyone the right to endanger lives by recklessly speeding down residential streets.
Anyone with more information was urged to call police at (310) 288-2656.
—City News Service