Coca-Cola heir arrested in Caribbean after landing on private jet with Irish actor Jonathan Rhys Meyers and '$1.3M worth of cannabis hemp' on board
News

Coca-Cola heir arrested in Caribbean after landing on private jet with Irish actor Jonathan Rhys Meyers and '$1.3M worth of cannabis hemp' on board

THE heir to the Coca-Cola fortune has been arrested in St Kitts after landing on the Caribbean Island in a private jet with Irish actor Jonathan Rhys Meyers and over $1 million worth of cannabis plants on board.

Greek billionaire Alki David, 50, was taken into custody by the Anti-Narcotics Unit at Robert L Bradshaw International Airport after customs officials found around 5,000 plants along with seeds and a variety of other "hemp" products, according to the St Kitts Nevis Observer.

He was released but later re-arrested when attempting to leave the island on May 9 and charged with intent to supply, possession of controlled drugs and importation of a controlled drug into the federation.

However, Mr David claims the products on board were "all hemp" – the non-psychoactive strain of the plant grown specifically for industrial uses – related to his plans for a new legal cannabis business in the region.

Advertisement

He and US billionaire Chase Ergen announced back in April that they had formed SwissX, a consortium which specialises in CBD medicines and hopes to develop the legal cannabis market in eastern Caribbean nations such as St Kitts and Nevis, Dominica and Antigua.

Speaking to Manx Radio in the Isle of Man, where Mr David resides, a spokesperson on his behalf said authorities in St Kitts were informed prior to landing of the presence of "pure hemp" cargo on board – including clone plants, hemp seeds and SwissX CBD oil products as part of the new venture.

Mr Ergen, chairman of satellite giants Dish Network and EchoStar, has also been arrested by the St Christopher and Nevis Police Force after being found with medicinal ketamine and remains locked up.

Mr David was released after paying $30,000 cash bail on the condition that he surrender all travel documents and report to the Frigate Bay Police Station for daily check-ins.

Advertisement

Dublin native Rhys Meyers, who was travelling with the business partners along with his wife and her mother, has not been arrested.

Mr David told MailOnline: "Jonathan Rhys Meyers' mother-in-law and wife were cavity searched.

"We left the airport after the search but were then arrested after trying to leave the island a few days later".

Mr David also claimed his business partner Mr Ergen's arrest was a "set up" and said the additional drugs he was carrying were in fact his medication.

He added: "This was his medication for bipolar. He was talking to Prime Minister [Timothy] Harris when he was suddenly arrested. He is going into his second night behind bars."

The Greek Cypriot tycoon – heir to the Leventis-David Group which holds the majority share in Coca-Cola Helenic, Europe’s largest bottling company – has now promised a legal fightback against St Kitts' Prime Minister Dr Timothy Harris.

Advertisement

In a press conference on Monday, Mr David blamed Harris for accusations in the media that he was attempting to purchase land on St Kitts as well as arresting Mr Ergen.

He was accompanied at the press conference by leader of the opposition Dr Denzil Douglas.

Mr David called Harris "a little dictator" and said he had flown in outside attorneys from London to take up his case.

"It's illegal and it's unconscionable. Mr Harris here has a whole new thing coming at him," he said.

"I've never been to jail in my life, I've never had handcuffs put on me.

"I was degraded, my friend is being degraded and we've done nothing wrong."

Advertisement

Mr David is due to appear before Basseterre Magistrate Court later today, Tuesday May 14.