The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) has found 15 senior police officers and prosecutors guilty of mishandling the notorious 2012 hit-and-run case involving Red Bull scion Vorayuth “Boss” Yoovidhya.
They include former national police chief Pol Gen Somyot Poompanmoung, and former deputy attorney-general Nate Naksuk, who dropped the remaining charges against Mr Vorayuth, NACC spokesman Niwatchai Kasemmongkol said on Wednesday
Also named in the report is Pol Gen Permpoon Chidchob, who was named education minister in the new cabinet this week.
Pol Gen Permpoon, then an assistant national police chief with the rank of lieutenant general, officially endorsed the decision by Mr Nate in June 2020. This was considered a disciplinary violation but not a serious one, said Mr Niwatchai.
The anti-graft agency will hold a press conference later to discuss its findings in more detail, said the spokesman.
The accident took place on Sept 3, 2012, when Mr Vorayuth rammed his Ferrari into a motorcycle driven by Pol Snr Sg Maj Wichian Klanprasert of the Thong Lor police station.
Mr Vorayuth, then 27, drove off, dragging the victim’s body around 200 metres from the scene, without informing the authorities.
Following a protracted investigation, three charges were laid against the heir to the Red Bull fortune. His lawyers managed to secure postponements of court appearances on eight occasions, before their client finally fled the country in 2017.
The decision in 2020 by Mr Nate to drop a charge of reckless driving causing death — based on “new” evidence that blamed the dead policeman for the crash — ignited public outrage that led Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to establish a committee to investigate the decision.
Led by Vicha Mahakun, a former NACC commissioner, the panel found evidence of intervention by officials, law enforcement agencies, public prosecutors, lawyers and witnesses. Among them reportedly were three prosecutors and several high-ranking police officers.
Some were accused of having a role in changing the car’s speed at the time of the fatal crash, and the sudden appearance of new witnesses which resulted in reduced charges against Mr Vorayuth.
The full findings of Mr Vicha’s report have never been made public.
The statute of limitations has since expired on all but one of the charges in the case. But the charge of reckless driving causing death has been revived and will remain active until 2027.
- Editorial: Don’t forget ‘Boss’ case