Cuba Frees Canadian Businessman Sentenced to 15 Years

Cy Tokmakjian

HAVANA TIMES — Cuban authorities released today a Canadian businessman sentenced in October 2014 to 15 years in prison, reported dpa news.

Cy Tokmakjian, 74, arrived today to Canada, said CTV News quoting the executive’s lawyers. The reason for his early release is unknown.

A Cuban court had sentenced Tokmakjian to 15 years in prison for corruption in early October last year. He was also ordered to pay millions in compensation to the Cuban state.

With him were sentenced two other Canadians and 14 Cuban officials, including former deputy minister of the defunct Ministry of Sugar, Nelson Ricardo Labrada.

Tokmakjian, who led the company Tokmakjian Group on the island, was arrested in 2011. The company based in Ontario represented the South Korean automaker Hyundai in Cuba and had contracts with several companies in the transportation sector.

The businessman was found guilty of “using fraudulent and corrupt mechanisms for profit in negotiations with Cuban entities” and “illegally extracting large sums of money from the country.”

Former Deputy Minister Labrada was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Fifteen others were convicted on charges of tax evasion, bribery, forgery, trafficking foreign currency, and fraud, among other charges.

The Tokmakjian Group operated on the island with four subsidiaries (Tokmakjian Limited, CYMC Corp, Tokmakjian International and Perry Intertrade).

The Canadian media speculated today with the possibility that the release of Tokmakjian is linked to the recent diplomatic thaw between Cuba and the United States announced in mid-December.

The Canadian government, which brokered several months of secret negotiations for rapprochement between the two countries, has not commented so far the case of Tokmakjian.

8 thoughts on “Cuba Frees Canadian Businessman Sentenced to 15 Years

  • Moses, I don’t have a sick sense of humor, but it’s clear to me that you’re nothing but a fear monger when you begin talking about beheadings in Cuba. Your anti-Castro crusade is becoming absolutely desperate and paranoid to the point of ridiculous with every twisted speculation you invent.

  • According to the Corruption Index maintained by Transparency International, Canada ranks as the 10th least corrupt country in the world, out of 175 countries surveyed. The UK ranks 14th. The USA ranks 17th. Cuba ranks 63rd.

    Who corrupted whom? The Tokmakjian Group operated in Cuba for many years and they followed the customs dictated to them by the Cuban officials they dealt with. Then one day Raul decided the rules have changed and he seized the whole business,taking $100 million in assets. Do you know who runs the operations now? Raul’s son-in-law, the director of GAESA.

    Not only is Cuba an ally of North Korea, but also of Assad’s rump state of Syria, of Iran, Sudan, Russia, Venezuela and all the other most corrupt states in the world. Birds of a feather.

  • is a shame these businessmen think it is ok to take their corrupt practices to Cuba and get away with it. We all know these type bribes are normal in Canada since the mulronney scandle.

  • This sad case, and many other like them, should come as a warning to any US business who think they would like to try their luck in Cuba. The Castro mafiosa are the mandatory partners of any foreign corporation doing business in Cuba. If & when the regime decided they want your stuff, they will make it. And don’t expect to enjoy any rights or the rule of law. That’s not how things are done in Castro’s Cuba.

  • Really? I hope it says about me that I realize that “absolute power corrupts, absolutely”. The Castros absolute power has emboldened them to arrest, beat and detain more than 200 peaceful dissidents on Sunday, February 22, despite the fact the whole world is paying attention.
    After arranging suspicious automobile and boat accidents and hospital visits, is it so far a stretch to cut off heads? The Castros proudly proclaim to be BFFs with the North Korean regime. You know, the one that kills people for watching anti-government or religious DVDs. If you can find a chuckle in that, you have a sick sense of humor.

  • “The Castros simply don’t cut off their heads…yet.”

    Moses, that ONE statement of yours says everything about YOU…and absolutely nothing about the Castros. Thanks for the chuckle.

  • Sounds a bit like events that happen here in Britain everyday. People who are hungry and relatively poor are wide open to corruption. Pay people more and operate a more open system.

  • Tokmakjian is probably under a gag order as a part of the deal struck to effect his release. It would be very interesting to hear the tales he could tell. He was very likely guilty of paying bribes and laundering money. But, if he did what he did at the request of his Cuban partners and had no real choice to refuse their solicitations, his guilt is debatable. Of course, he could have walked away from doing business in Cuba. This news points to a trend among totalitarian regimes. Despotic governments are learning to recognize the value of hostage-taking and ‘prisoners’ like Alan Gross and Tokmakjian are taken into custody on flimsy charges and tried in sham trials in order to be used as a bargaining chip in future negotiations. Islamic terrorists are doing the same thing. The Castros simply don’t cut off their heads…yet.

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