- Associated Press - Friday, September 18, 2015

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — A Middle Eastern sheikh who allegedly said he owned a Ferrari caught on film speeding through a Beverly Hills neighborhood apparently has raced out of town, police said Thursday.

Khalid bin Hamad Al Thani of Qatar has left the country and the cars are gone, authorities said at a news conference.

Al Thani owns a drag-racing team and is a member of the ruling family of oil- and gas-rich Qatar. An aficionado of fast cars, Al Thani routinely has been photographed racing cars on racetracks, including a Formula 1 racer.

The state-run Qatar News Agency did not immediately report on the incident Friday, the start of the country’s weekend. Authorities in Qatar and at the Qatari Embassy in Washington could not be immediately reached for comment.

The bright yellow, 12-cylinder LaFerrari, which can sell for around $1.4 million new, was spotted along with a white Porsche zooming down narrow streets and blowing through stop signs on Saturday evening until they finally pulled into a driveway, the Ferrari’s engine smoking.

Officers answering reports of reckless driving found both cars parked in a driveway. A man told the officers that the cars belonged to him and denied speeding or driving recklessly, police said.

The man claimed to have diplomatic immunity, but that is unlikely, Lt. Lincoln Hoshino said.

Police Chief Dominick Rivetti said the Ferrari was connected to Al Thani. However, Hoshino said investigators have not confirmed whether he actually was driving either car.

“The drivers weren’t visible on the videos or photographs,” and investigators were unable to find anyone who was willing to identify the drivers, Hoshino said.

“What I do know is you can’t claim diplomatic immunity if you don’t have it, and you can’t use that as an excuse to jeopardize the public or commit crimes,” Rivetti said.

Police will continue investigating, and if the drivers are identified they could be charged with reckless driving, Rivetti said.

The city also has passed along its outrage over the incident to the Qatari consulate via the U.S. State Department, the chief said.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

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