Cuba Sentences Former Deputy Minister to 20 years in Prison

Cy Tokmakjian was sentenced to 15 years in prison. Note: No picture was available of Fernandez.

HAVANA TIMES — A Cuban court sentenced a former deputy minister of the defunct Ministry of Sugar, Nelson Ricardo Labrada Fernández, to 20 years in prison on charges of corruption in the case involving a Canadian firm, its nationals and over a dozen Cuban officials who were also sentenced, confirmed today the official Granma daily.

The Provincial Court of Havana gave the Canadian director of the Tokakjian Group, Vahe Cy Tokmakjian, a 15-year sentence as well as obliging him to pay millions in damages to the Cuban state, reported dpa news.

The charges against the two ringleaders and 15 other persons included the offenses of tax evasion, bribery, forgery, hard currency trafficking and fraud, among other charges.

Besides Tokmakjian, 73, also sentenced were the Canadians, Claudio Franco and Marco Vinicio Vetere Puche Rodríguez, with sentences of 12 and eight years in prison respectively.  The other Cubans involved received between six and 12 year sentences.

All three Canadians belonged to the foreign company Tokmakjian Group, based in Ontario, which had done business in Cuba for decades and was the exclusive dealer for the South Korean automaker Hyundai and had contracts with several state companies in the transport sector.

Several of the 14 Cuban defendants belonged to the now defunct Cuban Ministry of Sugar, whose functions were transferred in 2011 to a Cuban business group and others to the also dissolved Ministry of Basic Industry, in addition to state enterprises and an institution close to the Ministry of Tourism.

Tokmakjian, accused of causing many millions in losses to the Cuban economy, was also ordered to pay compensation with his assets on the island. The Tokmakjian Group operated in Cuba with four subsidiaries (Tokmakjian Limited, CYMC Corp, Tokmakjian International and Perry Intertrade).

At his trial in June, the Canadian businessman was charged of using fraudulent corrupting mechanisms to profit in negotiations with Cuban entities” and “illegally extract large sums of money from the country.”

The Canadian company rejected the statement a few days ago when it was informed of the sentence and claiming that Tokmakjian is innocent. This is a “travesty of justice,” the company told the newspaper “The Globe and Mail” this week.


6 thoughts on “Cuba Sentences Former Deputy Minister to 20 years in Prison

  • October 4, 2014 at 12:22 pm
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    This letter can shed some information on this pattern by the Castro oligarchy to jail businessmen in Cuba and take their assets!

    THE ECONOMIST: The risk of doing business – Aug 13th 2013,

    WE HAVE received the following letter from Stephen Purvis, a British
    businessman who was detained in Cuba for 15 months:

    Dear Editor,

    I enjoyed reading about my misfortunes in the Economist, albeit many months
    after publication and in the company of fellow inmates in the Cuban high
    security prison, La Condesa. I would ask you to correct the impression that you
    give in the May 9th 2012 edition and subsequent articles that I was accused and
    detained for corruption.

    http://www.economist.com/blogs/americasview/2013/08/foreign-investment-cuba

  • October 3, 2014 at 9:59 pm
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    Indeed Cubans aren’t “stupid”….agree or disagree Castro ain’t stupid either….however many of the comments here are “stupid”…”thinking” they know everything….but it is ONLY opinions

  • October 3, 2014 at 9:55 pm
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    Well said Manuuel

  • October 3, 2014 at 3:41 pm
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    How do you know that the Canadians are guilty? The doors of the Court were closed and no evidence heard. Do you know of any evidence, or only the opinion of the Castro family regime that the accused are guilty? That’s the problem with a dictatorship – doesn’t make any difference whether the dictator is Pinochet or Castro. Their control is total but a few people who do not know anything about the laws of the free world are gullible and believe anything that the dictators say. The laws of Cuba were not written by an elected democratic government, they were written by Fidel Castro Ruz. I think it is Section 26 of the Castro Constitution which says:
    Work is a right and a duty.” Where is the work?
    The Castro Constitution also says that the mail of individuals “is inviolate” but the Aduana slit it open!
    The people of Cuba although very poor are not stupid. But hundreds of thousands have fled to free democratic countries many risking their lives to get there. Do you know of any Canadian fleeing to Cuba?
    The Government of Cuba confiscated all the assets in Cuba of the Tokmakian Group – some $80 million. Maybe the Castro family regime is saving up in their piggy bank to purchase more assets for RAFIN SA (Raul & Fidel).
    It will be interesting to see when an international court considers the claim bt the Tokmakian Group against the Castro family regime for $200 million what the result is.
    Mr, Gross is a US citizen, not a Canadian. Just remember that Canada is the biggest foreign investor in Cuba, mines the nickel, is involved in the supply of electricity and oil production. Just remember that Canada was one of only two countries in the Western Hemisphere that maintained diplomatic relations with Cuba at the time of the Revolution. Venezuela, Bolivia, Equador, Argentina, Columbia, Nicaragua all abandoned Cuba. Just remember that Terminal 3 at Jose Marti Airport was jointly opened by Fidel Castro Ruz and the then Prime Minister of Canada.
    Canadians are disgusted with the manipulations of the Castro family regime. Even if it was available they would not purchase the two scents Ernesto and Hugo which were actually produced in France.
    Canadians and the rest of the world don’t believe that the Argentinian Dr. Ernesto Guevara and Hugo Chavez Frias are sacred – that implies being gods – so I guess that Raul and Fidel Castro Ruz are in your eyes, living gods.
    Viva los Cubanos libre! No mas Socialismo!

  • October 3, 2014 at 2:36 pm
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    Well those Canadians acted in that way because they live in a country they though were a poor and stupid one and some of his citizen were easy to buy as a pumpkin in the Halloween festivities.
    All of them always claim they are innocent as Allan Gross did but Cuba has his only laws that they have to respect as they respect the law of Canada, I mean if they in reality respect the law of Canada as they said.

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