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Vesco associate Nixon: I can now leave Cuba

The nephew of former President Nixon says Cuban authorities have returned his passport, clearing the way for him to leave the country after being stranded for four months.

In a telephone interview Saturday from his Havana hotel, however, Nixon said he won't immediately be going home to Orange County, Calif. Nixon said he planned to fly Sunday to Cancun, Mexico, to begin clinical tests on a new drug for battling AIDS and cancer.

"This is the biggest discovery that ever happened on the face of the Earth," said the 49-year-old Tustin, Calif., entrepreneur.

Nixon said he went to Cuba four months ago to work with fugitive financier Robert Vesco on producing and testing the drug. But the project stalled when Vesco was arrested a month ago on suspicion of being a "provocateur." Cuban authorities prevented Nixon from leaving the county until they could investigate his relationship with Vesco.

Nixon said Cuban officials want him to return as a witness in Vesco's case and to continue plans for mass production of the drug. Nixon, who worked in the early '70s as Vesco's aide, said he hadn't talked to his former boss in 17 years. But he went to Vesco and Cuba as a last resort, to use the country's inexpensive research and production facilities.

Nixon added that the FBI wants to question him when he returns to the United States.

"I'm certain they want to talk about Vesco. That's okay," Nixon said. "Whatever they want, I'll give them. I'm not a wanted or hunted guy."

Nixon has been investigated but never arrested in connection with alleged heroin smuggling and diamond scams. He once worked for a New York-based company labeled by prosecutors as the largest Ponzi scheme in U.S. history.

In 1992, Nixon promoted a widely debunked AIDS drug.