Coca-Cola billionaire detained after police find 5,000 ‘cannabis plants’ on his private jet

‘We didn’t even bring in cannabis, we brought in a cousin of cannabis’

Zamira Rahim
Thursday 16 May 2019 11:05 BST
Coca-Cola billionaire Alki David boards his jet

A Greek billionaire has been arrested after entering a Caribbean country with around 5,000 cannabis plants on a private plane.

Alkiviades David was first detained on Tuesday 7 May by anti-narcotics police officers at the Robert L Bradshaw airport in St Kitts and Nevis.

He was initially released but was then arrested for a second time on 9 May.

A police spokesperson said the 50-year-old had been charged with possession with intent to supply, possession of controlled drugs and importation of a controlled drug.

Mr David is believed to have been transporting £1m worth of cannabis plants and seeds when he was stopped by customs authorities.

The plants are believed to have been for SwissX, Mr David’s medical cannabis company, according to The Vancouver Sun.

The 50-year-old is worth around £2.6bn and belongs to the Leventis family, who are majority share holders in the Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company.

Mr David was released on bail on 14 May, a police spokesperson said.

“He was granted bail under new conditions,” the spokesperson added.

“The new conditions were a cash bail of $300,000 and $600,000 with two sureties for his appearance at the Basseterre Magistrate Court.”

Mr David has denied the charges, according to The St Kitts Nevis Observer.

He claimed the plants were of a different variety to cannabis and were not illegal in St Kitts, as they did not contain THC, the active ingredient found in cannabis plants.

“We’re going to go into the granular details of what cannabis genus it is,” Mr David said.

Support free-thinking journalism and attend Independent events

“We didn’t even bring in cannabis, we brought in a cousin of cannabis that has been genetically modified.”

Mr David’s business partner, Chase Ergen, 66, was also reportedly detained by police officers during the incident.

Mr David is scheduled to appear at the Bassetrre Magistrates Court in St Kitts and Nevis on 23 September.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in