Greek-Cypriot billionaire Alkiviades “Alki” David, 50, heir to Coca-Cola’s Greek operations, was arrested on the Caribbean Island of St. Kitts after a search of his private jet uncovered more than $1.3 million worth of cannabis on board, media reports said.
He was apprehended by the Anti-Narcotics Unit after customs officials found some 5,000 marijuana plants as well as seeds and a variety of other cannabis products, according to the Vancouver Sun.
He was charged with intent to supply, possession of controlled drugs and importation of a controlled drug into the federation, officials from the St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force confirmed to The Daily Express.
David claimed the plants on board were “all hemp” and were related to a new venture to start a legal cannabis business in the region.
He and Chase Ergen, co-founder and Chairman of the satellite media systems Dish Network and EchoStar, said in April they’d formed a consortium aimed at developing the cannabis business in Eastern Caribbean nations, including St. Kitts-Nevis, Dominica and Antigua.
Plans included purchasing agricultural land and partnering with farmers to create a cooperative entity modeled after those in Switzerland although Greece is now issuing licenses for the cultivation of marijuana for medical purposes.
The two said they wanted to go after the Caribbean culture’s marijuana market and the Rastafarian movement in the region and that they’d already held meetings with business and government leaders.
David is an heir of the Leventis-David Group which holds the majority share in Coca-Cola Helenic, Europe’s largest bottling company. The Leventis family is worth more than $388 million, according to 2018’s The Sunday Times Rich List. The UK-based publication estimates David is independently worth more than $2.8 billion.
He lives on the Isle of Man and arrived on St. Kitts on a plane with Ergen and Irish actor Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Mogaznews En reported. David owns SwissX, a medical marijuana company that produces luxury CBD oils that have been endorsed by rapper Snoop Dog.
In April, he was required to pay $11.1 million to a female former employee who said he fired her for refusing to have sex with him and surrendering all travel documents to authorities.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report)