Did Qatari sheikh flee to Vancouver after L.A. street race?

The wealthy middle-eastern prince who owns the $1.5-million yellow Ferrari recorded running stop signs and racing through suburban Beverly Hills, California fled the US last week, and may have arrived in Vancouver.

Staff at the upscale Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel put a call from CTV News through to one of several rooms rented by Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad al Thani of Qatar's ruling family – though those answering the calls denied any part in it.

The Ferrari and a white Porsche shocked Beverly Hills residents last week as the vehicles swerved around a car stopped at a stop sign, grounded the Ferrari, and then drove it, smoking, onto the lawn of a home.

For a while it was a mystery who owned the vehicle, but the officers found Al Thani, who claimed to own the vehicles but not to have been behind the wheel.

"Officers were approached by an individual who indicated the vehicles belonged to him," said Beverly Hills Police Chief Dominick Rivetti.

Al Thani is known as the "patron sheikh" of drag racing, and has given millions to a drag racing team while been photographed on race tracks numerous times. He's part of a wealthy dynasty in the Middle Eastern nation worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
Rivetti said Al Thani claimed diplomatic immunity – a claim he believes is false. Police had not laid any charges before Al Thani left the country on Thursday. It wasn't clear where he had gone to.

A call by CTV News to one of Vancouver's most upscale hotels, the Fairmont Pacific Rim, revealed a Khalid bin Hamad Al Thani renting not one, but several rooms.

The Fairmont Pacific Rim put us through, and a male voice answered before a female voice interrupted, confirming that it was Al Thani's room.

She said that she didn't know anything about the cars – then claimed that we had the wrong room.
But hotel staff confirmed that we had been put through to the correct room, and that Al Thani had actually rented "a couple of" rooms at the Fairmont.

A private 737 at Vancouver International Airport shows a flight history of coming from L.A. to Vancouver on Thursday. It is registered in Bermuda, where some of the Al Thani fleet is reportedly based.

Vancouver Police said the issue is outside of their jurisdiction, but speculated that Al Thani may have "some issues" if he tries to return to the U.S.

"Hopefully he will stick to a driver or limo service when he is here," Const. Brian Montague said. Jon Woodward, CTV News

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