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Thai deputy prosecutor quits to aid probe over Red Bull case

BANGKOK (AP) — The Attorney General’s Office in Thailand has set up a committee to investigate whether it followed the law in dropping the last criminal charge against a scion of the Red Bull energy drink empire who was involved in a traffic accident almost eight years ago in which a motorcycle policeman was killed.

It announced Tuesday that along with the action, Deputy Attorney General Nate Naksuk, who made the decision in June to dismiss the charge, has resigned to show his “spirit” and allow himself to prove he acted appropriately based on the evidence he reviewed.

The announcement is the latest official initiative responding to public outrage over the dropping of the charge of causing death by reckless driving against Vorayuth Yoovidhya, whose Ferrari ran into the policeman’s motorcycle on a main Bangkok street in the early morning hours of Sept. 3, 2012.

The case has been widely seen as an example of how the rich and well-connected enjoy impunity from the law in Thailand. The Yoovidhya family is listed by Forbes magazine as the second richest in Thailand, with an estimated wealth of $20.2 billion.

Police announced last month that the Attorney General’s Office had dropped the charge because they found it was no longer justified. Documents leaked later to Thai media revealed that two new eyewitnesses had come forward to say the crash was the policeman’s fault, and that new expert witnesses had claimed that Vorayuth had not been driving over the speed limit, contradicting the initial police findings that he was traveling far above it.

The Attorney General’s Office declared last week that the case against Vorayuth, better known by the nickname “Boss,” remained open pending a reexamination of the evidence. It also advised police to file drug charges against Vorayuth on the basis of previously disregarded evidence that tests conducted on him after the crash revealed traces of cocaine.

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