Qatari 'royal' linked to Beverly Hills street racing left country, police say

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A Qatari man investigators have connected to a Ferrari that sped through residential streets in Beverly Hills in a weekend incident caught on video, has left the country, police said on Thursday.

Beverly Hills Police Chief Dominick Rivetti identified the man as Sheikh Khalid Hamad Al-Thani. The Thani dynasty rules Qatar, but Beverly Hills police declined to confirm if the man who left the country is part of Qatar's royal family.

In a video broadcast by Los Angeles television stations that sparked anger among residents and on social media, a Ferrari and a Porsche screeched their tires and revved their engines on Saturday as they zoomed along residential streets and blew past a stop sign. The Ferrari's driver could be seen in the video pulling into a driveway with smoke rising from the engine.

The incident gained international attention when police said someone involved in the incident claimed diplomatic immunity.

Police have said the cars in the video appeared to have been driven recklessly but that officers who arrived to find the Ferrari in the driveway could not make an arrest or issue a citation because they did not witness the incident.

Beverly Hills police spokesman Lieutenant Lincoln Hoshino said that while investigators had connected Sheikh Khalid Hamad Al-Thani to the Ferrari, it was unknown if he was the person who claimed diplomatic immunity or if he owned the luxury car. Hoshino said police had not yet identified the drivers.

The drivers were unlikely to have had diplomatic immunity, police added.

"It's against a federal law for someone to claim diplomatic immunity when they don't have it, so we're looking at that and then we're also looking at the reckless driving," Rivetti told reporters.

Hoshino said it appeared the Ferrari was not registered with the State Department to be brought into the country.

Beverly Hills police said they may seek to prosecute those involved in the street race through the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.

A spokesman for the Consulate of Qatar in Los Angeles did not return a call.

Source Reuters

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