Qatar royalty flees US after caught street racing his Ferrari
October 14, 2015
It almost seems like something out of a bad action movie, one of those “Fast and Furious” franchises where it’s all about high-octane street racing in exotic locales. Except this incident didn’t come out of a film, and the locale in question was the most famous neighborhood in the world: Beverly Hills. The cars involved were certainly exotic—a yellow, seven-figure Ferarri and a Porsche—and they were caught on video blazing through stop signs and buzzing pedestrians as they hugged the curbs of narrow community side streets. It was an illegal race, to be sure, but who was manning the wheel, and what repercussions does he face?
The owner of the Ferrari was revealed to be Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad al Thani. If that sounds like a mouthful, consider that it’s the name given to a member of Qatar’s ruling family. Not so surprisingly, the Sheikh has competed in many international street races, and is known internationally as the “patron sheikh” of drag racing. Therefore it didn’t take too long after the incident for police to find said yellow Ferrari parked outside of his home on Walden Drive. When questioned about the speeding, Al Thani pled ignorance, but also mentioned something else—that he had diplomatic immunity.
A question of immunity
Certainly, someone whose name starts with “Sheikh” and is followed by five other words likely draws a lot of water internationally. But immunity? Doesn’t that only work as a time-out if you manage to duck into your embassy while traveling abroad? Regardless, it seems Al Thani’s claim of being protected by diplomatic immunity was false on its face, since the U.S. State Department denied that he enjoyed any such protection.
Man of the neighborhood
To be fair, neighbors of Al Thani maintain that he had always been a decent, “mellow” neighbor whenever he came to stay in town. Until he decided to reenact “Days of Thunder” on narrow streets where children could have been playing, that is. Sure, the kids next door are often great neighbors too—until they teepee your house on Halloween.
Local authorities said they couldn’t find anyone to identify the driver, and the video doesn’t show much, either. So, despite local law enforcement claiming that Beverly Hills applies the law equally regardless of whom one is connected to or how much money he or she has, don’t expect much. The book is likely closed.
In the end, it doesn’t appear that Beverly Hills P.D. is about to send Axel Foley to Qatar to bring back the naughty Sheikh. They don’t seem to want to ruffle international feathers. What do you think? Should we dispatch Vin Diesel and Tyrese Gibson to Qatar to settle the score for America?