Cuba Frees Brits Accused of Corruption

HAVANA TIMES — Cuban authorities released two British businessmen detained since 2011 on charges of corruption, confirmed the British Embassy in Havana on Friday.

Amado Fakhre and Stephen Purvis, former directors of the British company Coral Capital Group, were released this week, spokesman Patrick Rhys told DPA news.

Fakhre, former CEO of Coral Capital, was released on Wednesday. Purvis, the former chief operating officer of the company, was released on Monday.

Both are still in Cuba and still face court proceedings. The two British citizens were arrested in a notorious operating in October 2011, which closed the offices of Coral Capital in Havana.

Their trial, as well as others against foreign nationals accused of corruption, took place in late May behind closed doors. Neither the authorities nor the Cuban media have provided information about the processes.

Meanwhile, according to the Canadian newspaper the “Toronto Star”, Canadian businessman Sarkis Yacoubian was sentenced recently to nine years in prison.

The former director of the company Tri-Star Caribbean was arrested in July 2011 and was accused of bribery, tax evasion and “activities to the detriment of the economy,” explained the “Toronto Star” on Wednesday.

Fakhre and Purvis were also accused of corruption. While operating on the island, Coral Capital worked in mixed groups with Cuban companies particularly in the hotel sector.

Since coming to power seven years ago, President Raul Castro has made fighting corruption one of its chief efforts. Several Cuban officials have been convicted of such crimes in recent years.