Who is Le Van Thanh? Driver of Fiat Uno that clipped Diana’s car causing fatal crash wants $5M to reveal TRUTH

'Nothing is free in life, you pay €500,000 for me to talk,' says the former cab driver

Who is Le Van Thanh? Driver of Fiat Uno that clipped Diana’s car causing fatal crash wants $5M to reveal TRUTH
Le Van Thanh’s Fiat Uno allegedly careened into Princess Diana's Mercedes S280 before it crashed (Liason-Pool/Getty Images, lee_van_thanh/Instagram)
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PARIS, FRANCE: A former taxi driver whose white Fiat Uno clipped the Mercedes Benz limo carrying Princess Diana and her lover Dodi Fayed before they died in a crash 25 years ago is ready to talk publicly, but on one condition.

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When approached by Radar, Le Van Thanh reportedly demanded €500,000 (~$5,00,530) to discuss what transpired the night of August 30, 1997. “Nothing is free in life,” he told the outlet. “You pay €500,000 for me to talk.” Multiple investigations concluded that it was Van Thanh’s Fiat Uno that careened into the black Mercedes S280 before it hurtled into the thirteenth pillar of Paris’ Pont de l’Alma tunnel. Diana, Princess of Wales, and two other passengers were killed in the crash.

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As reported by Radar, former Scotland Yard chief John Steven said he tried to get the driver to talk twice in 2017, but Van Thanh refused to speak about the accident on both occasions. He also decided not to speak to authorities as part of the highly-documented Operation Paget investigation that was launched to solve the mysterious crash. Van Thanh's white Fiat Uno is identical to the car investigators believe hit Diana's limo. Besides, he also owned a Rottweiler similar to the large dog witnesses said they saw in the back of the vehicle. Furthermore, Van Thanh’s father, Francois alleged in a 2006 interview that his son resprayed his Fiat red hours after the incident, saying he woke up his mechanic brother in the middle of the night for the same.

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Messages are seen above the entrance to the tunnel where Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed died in a tragic car crash, January 5, 2004 in Paris. Diana and Dodi died when the Mercedes-Benz they were travelling in crashed in the tunnel on August 31, 1997. Inquests by Surrey Coroner Michael Burgess into the deaths of both Diana and Dodi were launched January 5, 2004.
Messages are seen above the entrance to the tunnel where Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed died in a tragic car crash, January 5, 2004 in Paris (Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

However, when approached for an interview, Van Thanh said, “I want the money before… I already told you I don't speak for free.” A couple driving home from dinner in Rolls-Royce on that fateful night claimed they noticed white Fiat Uno speed past them as they exited the tunnel around the time of the crash. Trevor Rees-Jones, Diana’s bodyguard and the only survivor of the crash, tried to recollect the mystery vehicle involved in the accident. “My clearest, and last, memories of the night are of the Mercedes pulling away. I saw again the white or light-colored car that crossed the road and followed us,” the bodyguard said. Moira Johnston, who co-wrote Rees-Jones biography, chimed in, “Just as Henri Paul was simultaneously faced with navigating the left curve and substantial dip which led into the tunnel, he was confronted by a small white Fiat Uno blocking the right lane.” She added, “The Uno was probably just outside, and about to enter, the tunnel as Paul first saw it. With contact with the Fiat Uno, the crash sequence had begun.”

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Iconic photos, flowers and messages dedicated to pay homage to Diana, Princess of Wales to the 20th anniversary of her death adorn the plinth of the Flame of Liberty statue on August 31, 2017 in Paris, France. Princess Diana is died in a car crash on August 31, 1997 near the Pont de l'Alma tunnel. The Flame of Liberty statue became the unofficial memorial to Diana, Princess of Wales.
Iconic photos, flowers and messages dedicated to pay homage to Diana, Princess of Wales to the 20th anniversary of her death adorn the plinth of the Flame of Liberty statue on August 31, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Thierry Chesnot/Getty Images)

Van Thanh previously spoke to investigator Dylan Howard in an interview for the 2019 book 'Diana: Case Solved'. At the time, he said French authorities had instructed him to not to speak to British prosecutors in Lindon. And when asked why he won't cooperate with the police, he said, “They have tried to get me to help them, but this is not my job.” The former cab driver said that he was told British law is "not the same law as in France — don’t go there.” He added, “That’s why I let them [the public] think what they want,” referring to the various conspiracy theories surrounding the deaths of Diana, Dodi, and their driver, Henri Paul, who was later found to be intoxicated at the time of the crash.

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It's worth noting that Van Thanh was 22 at the time of the incident and there hasn't been any credible suggestion that he was part of some plot against the princess. Howard concluded in his book 'Diana: Case Solved' that he had no involvement in her death. Radar noted the irony as they reported how Van Thanh now runs his own limousine operation from his home near Paris. In 2018, his lawyer insisted his client had no role in the crash that claimed Diana's life and sent shockwaves across the globe.

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