Canadian billionaire Guy Laliberté is currently awaiting trial in a Tahitian jail cell, but told police that the isolated cultivation plot in French Polynesia was for personal medical use only.
If you’ve ever dressed up and taken a night out on the town to experience the insane athleticism and entertainment of a Cirque Du Soleil show, you probably know that the show is best viewed with a hefty helping of recreational intoxicants. And apparently, Cirque Du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte was no stranger to the idea of enhanced viewing.
According to concurrent reports from the CBC and BBC, the billionaire founder of the grandiose acrobatic theater show Cirque Du Soleil was arrested early this week after police in French Polynesia busted the Canadian national for growing cannabis on his private island, Nukutepipi.
Laliberte turned himself into police on Tuesday and appeared in front of a judge for the first time on Wednesday. Cops say that they were tipped off to Laliberte’s private island grow operation after stopping a business associate of the circus magnate on drug charges. When they looked through the associates phone, police said they found photos of Laliberte’s grow site. After seeing the photos and grilling the business associate, police issued a warrant in Laliberte’s name for cannabis cultivation and trafficking.
Laliberte has already released a statement through his company denying the allegations, and claiming that any cannabis grown on his private island was cultivated for personal medicinal use only.
“[Guy Laliberte] categorically denies and dissociates himself completely from any rumours implicating him in the sale or the traffic of controlled substances,” the statement read.
Cannabis is completely illegal for both recreational and medicinal use in French Polynesia, with the Canadian government travel website noting that “penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.” It is not yet clear exactly how much in fines or prison time Laliberte is facing if he is found guilty of the current charges.
And for all you billionaires out there, let LaLiberte’s case act as a warning – even private islands aren’t immune to prying eyes.
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