The inquiry ordered by Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha into the handling of the case against Vorayuth “Boss” Yoovidhya has uncovered a trail of corruption and conspiracy. The fugitive Red Bull heir, grandson of the Red Bull co-founder Chaleo Yoovidhya, was accused of killing a 47 year old Bangkok police officer in September 2012 by dragging him and his motorbike under his Ferrari for 100 metres.
Boss subsequently failed to show for no fewer than 8 summonses and somehow managed to flee the country in 2017 in his family’s private jet to Singapore. While living abroad, local media had no difficulties tracking him down, publishing photos of him living a jet-set lifestyle in London, Singapore, and Japan. An Interpol ‘red notice’ for his arrest mysteriously disappeared from the Interpol website and, in June of this year, all final charges were dropped against him, provoking national outrage.
The uproar prompted PM Prayut Chan-o-cha to call for an independent inquiry into the handling of the case, which was led by the highly competent Vicha Mahakun. Following the announcement of the inquiry’s findings, the PM says a panel will be set up to further investigate 5 issues raised by the report. He adds that action will also be taken against at least 10 people named in the report, understood to be police officers and prosecutors, some currently in their positions.
For his part, Vicha says a combination of “conspiracy and corruption” meant Boss has evaded prosecution, adding that the inquiry team propose a completely fresh investigation.
“Evidence clearly indicates that investigators did not work professionally since some allegations were left out of the case report. We proposed a new investigation, starting from zero.”
Some of the findings of the report include the fact that police took around 6 months to carry out their investigation, during which time Vorayuth was not sent to court as per the prosecution’s orders. According to the report, some of the instances of alleged corruption uncovered, involve the provision of false evidence, as well as prosecutors, government officials, and lawyers colluding to disrupt the judicial process.
Vicha is calling for an investigation into the senior government officials involved in the case, as well as a suspension of the statute of limitations on charges against suspects who flee from justice. He is now working with anti-corruption bodies, the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission and the National Anti-Corruption Commission, to continue the investigation into the case.
Boss remains ‘on the run’ and his family have tried to distance themselves from the case and the public outrage directed at the family and their brand.
TCP Thailand (T.C. Pharmaceutical aka. T.C.Pharma), the company that owns Red Bull in Thailand, as well as other popular brands, released a statement back on July 26 in response to Thailand’s Attorney General dropping charges against 35 year old Boss.
Boss’ father, Chalerm Yoovidhya, also owns Siam Winery, which includes Spy Wine Cooler, Monsoon Valley, World of Wines distributor, and Moose Cider. The company is coming under pressure from social media as Thais are calling on people to boycott the Yoovidhya family and the products produced by their companies, including Red Bull.
SOURCE: Nation Thailand
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