HAVANA TIMES – Cuban authorities have launched a campaign to prevent the economic opening on the island from being ripe for money laundering from abroad. The owner of two successful restaurants on the Havana seafront has been the first to be arrested.
The Police specialists made an exhaustive search of the two restaurants (Lungo Mare and El Litoral) as well as the owner’s house where they went as far as raising the floors.
The speculation is huge between the neighbors and the rest of the owners of restaurants and cafes.
One of his “paladares” had already been fined for receiving stolen goods but the source said he is now accused of money laundering tied to drug trafficking. With such a judicial case, the possibility of the businesses reopening is slim.
In the Cuban economic opening to private forms of property, some foreigners have seen the possibility of investing through a Cuban with money obtained through illicit activities or simply of undeclared gains to the treasury of their countries.
Controls have tightened over the past few years, even when it involves money arriving through bank wires. Its now a common practice that before the transfer of large sums to the country the banking authorities investigate the origin and the final destination of those funds.