Alkiviades “Alki” David is a member of the Leventis family, who run the biggest commercial bottling facilities in Europe after a merger with beverage behemoth bumped the family’s net worth to approx. £4.6bn
A Greek Nigerian boen billionaire has been detained on the Caribbean Island of St. Kitts after a search of his private jet yielded approximately £1 million of cannabis totalling approximately 5,000 plants, an unknown number of seeds and a variety other cannabis products.
Isle of Man resident Alkiviades “Alki” David, 50, was arrested by the Anti-Narcotics Unit at the Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport. He has been charged with Possession with Intent to Supply, Possession of Controlled Drugs and Importation of a Controlled Drug into the Federation after his plane was stopped by customs authorities.
David is a member of the Leventis family, who run the biggest commercial bottling facilities in Europe after a merger with beverage behemoth Coca-Cola bumped the family’s net worth to approximately £4.6 billion. David himself is estimated to be worth £2.6 billion.
David claims the plants are “pure hemp,” which is legal and contains negligible quantities of intoxicating compound THC. But officials disagree.
It is believed that the crop was destined for David’s medical cannabis company, SwissX, which specializes in products containing CBD (cannabidiol), a non-intoxicating compound found in cannabis and hemp.
David was released after paying a cash bail of approximately USD$30,000 and is due to make another appearance at Basseterre Magistrate Court on May 14. In the meantime, he must surrender all travel documents in his possession and report daily to the Frigate Bay Police Station.
The charges will add to David’s quickly accumulating pile of legal bills. Last month, the billionaire was ordered to pay £8.5 million to a former employee whom he allegedly fired after she refused to perform sex acts at work.
Quite how David became this renegade isn’t clear. Born in Nigeria, he grew up in Knightsbridge, went to Stowe, followed by the elite Le Rosey academy in Switzerland, while spending summers on the Greek island of Spetses – a childhood as privileged as you’d expect for the sole son of Andrew David, his late father, whose company, Coca Cola Hellenic, today ships to 28 countries. And yet he has always tried to shake things up. Back at the house, we take our protein shakes into the garden, and he tells me how he was once suspended from Stowe. “I locked up the whole school in the assembly hall,” he grins. “The headmaster called me a potential mass murderer! I was quite proud of that.”
Looking out onto an infinity pool and a view of neighboring mansions, David insists that he comes from common stock, not aristocracy. “My people are all peasants and priests, if you go back,” he says. “During the war, my dad sold rats tails to GI’s for good luck. He used to walk around barefoot.”
And yet his privilege set him apart from an early age. He was bullied at school, and like a lot of rich kids, when he made friends he wondered about their motives. All the travelling rendered him a perpetual outsider. “In Nigeria I was a white guy, in England I was a black guy, and after 9/11, I was a terrorist!” He laughs. “I’ve always been the misfit.”
It has just gone six in the evening and the self-described “eccentric billionaire” Alki David is making a protein shake for dinner. “I don’t think I was ever in a lawsuit until I came to America!” he says. “But out here, if you’re not in a lawsuit, it’s like you don’t exist!”
It’s a very Beverly Hills scene – the mansion home, the wealthy older businessman and his swimsuit model wife, Jennifer Stano, handing him some homemade almond milk from the fridge. Pregnant and glowing, she sits at the kitchen table to feed their 9 month old baby, Nico, while a couple of dogs roam among them – Armani, a coiffured Chihuahua-mix, and a huge, forbidding Doberman about whom David says, “oh that’s Satan, he’s harmless.”
He stops the blender for a minute. “I think if you Google my name, ‘lawsuit’ comes up,” he says. And he apes the search engine’s italic retort. “Did you mean ‘lawsuit’? Haha!”
David has long been a magnet for notoriety. The 46 year old Greek heir to a huge fortune in Coca Cola bottling – his net worth was put at roughly $2.5bn in 2013 – he is currently the owner of the multi-platform televisionventures FilmOn and Battlecam, and has been variously described as a “renegade”, a “bad boy” and, by at least one district court judge, as “uncouth”. He famously offered $1 million to anyone who would streak President Obama; he filmed a fake assisted suicide; and he has hired, at one point or another, some of Hollywood’s most colourful characters, including Charlie Sheen, Joey Buttafuoco, Corey Feldman, Janice Dickinson and Gary Busey.