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Cirque du Soleil founder detained for growing cannabis on private island

Guy Laliberté smiles at a Cirque du Soleil event Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mr Laliberté'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 Laliberté turned himself in to police in French Polynesia.

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

In a statement, Mr Laliberté'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 Laliberté completely dissociates himself from any rumour implicating him... in the sale or traffic of drugs," it said.

Local television station Polynésie Première reported that police questioned an associate of Mr Laliberté 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 Laliberté retains a minority stake.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Cirque du Soleil performances are typically characterised by elaborate costumes and daring acrobatics

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