Cuba prosecutes Canadian after he denounced corruption - company

lunes 7 de julio de 2014 13:57 GYT

By Daniel Trotta

HAVANA, July 7 (Reuters) - Cuba has prosecuted and is likely to send Canadian businessman Cy Tokmakjian to prison after he denounced corruption in the Havana government's awarding of contracts, his company said on Monday.

"Cy Tokmakjian spoke out against corruption as it was clear the company was losing contracts to others for unexplained reasons. It's possible this outspokenness led to what is now happening," Lee Hacker, vice president of finance for the company, said in a statement on Monday.

Tokmakjian and two other Canadian citizens from his transportation company, the Tokmakjian Group, which has done business in Cuba for 22 years, stood trial on charges of bribery and other economic crimes in June.

A verdict and sentencing in the closely watched case are expected soon.

Cuban prosecutors are seeking a 15-year prison term for Tokmakjian and 12 years each for his managers, fellow Canadians Claudio Vetere and Marco Puche. All three have maintained their innocence, and the company has said it fears the outcome was predetermined.

"We are prepared and expecting the typical outcome from the court, which must follow directions from above," Hacker said.

Fourteen Cubans including a former deputy minister of the Sugar Ministry have also been accused in the case of charges that include bribery, tax evasion, falsifying bank documents. They face sentences of 8 to 20 years if convicted.

Tokmakjian was arrested in 2011 and held for nearly 2-1/2 years before being charged after his company was caught up in a crackdown on corruption by President Raul Castro. The trial took place June 9 to 21.   Continuación...