November 13, 2019 / 4:50 PM / 25 days ago

Cirque de Soleil founder Guy Laliberté in custody for growing cannabis in French Polynesia

Nov 13 (Reuters) - The founder of Cirque de Soleil, Guy Laliberté, has been taken into police custody in French Polynesia for growing cannabis, Laliberté’s investment firm said on Wednesday.

Montreal-based tech and innovation investment company Lune Rouge said Laliberté, 60, is being questioned regarding cannabis cultivated for “his personal use only” at his residence on Nukutepipi, an island in French Polynesia.

Laliberté, a billionaire according to the 2019 Forbes list, “categorically denies and dissociates himself completely from any rumors implicating him in the sale or the traffic of controlled substances,” Anne Dongois, head of communications for Lune Rouge, said in an emailed statement.

Reuters could not immediately reach French Polynesia officials for comment.

The statement described Laliberté as a medical cannabis user and said the company is collaborating with local authorities on the investigation.

Laliberté founded Cirque de Soleil in 1984 in Montreal, turning a passion for acrobatics and circus acts into a global entertainment empire. In 2015, a consortium led by U.S. private equity firm TPG Capital Management acquired a majority stake in Cirque de Soleil, with Laliberté’s family trust retaining a 10% stake, Reuters reported then. (Reporting by Moira Warburton in Toronto; Editing by Dan Grebler)

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