Cirque du Soleil founder detained for growing cannabis on private island

Mr Laliberte’s company says he grows cannabis for medical and “strictly personal” use

The co-founder of global circus company Cirque du Soleil has been detained for growing cannabis on his private island in the South Pacific.

Billionaire Guy Laliberte turned himself in to police in French Polynesia.

The Canadian entrepreneur is due to appear in court on Wednesday.

In a statement, Mr Laliberte’s company Lune Rouge denied he was growing the plant on his private island of Nukutepipi for commercial gain.

It said that he used cannabis for “medical” and “strictly personal” purposes.

“Guy Laliberte completely dissociates himself from any rumour implicating him… in the sale or traffic of drugs,” it said.

Local television station Polynesie Premiere reported that police questioned an associate of Mr Laliberte weeks ago on suspicion of drug possession. They reportedly found images of marijuana plantations on the associate’s cell phone.

In 2015, Cirque du Soleil was sold to US and Chinese investors, but Mr Laliberte retains a minority stake in the company. Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Cirque du Soleil performances are typically characterised by elaborate costumes and daring acrobatics

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