HAVANA TIMES — The BUPA Florida group associated with a large international health insurance consortium, agreed to pay a fine of US $128,704 dollars for transactions that allegedly violated the rules of the US Treasury Department for providing coverage for people listed as drug traffickers [not-Cuba related] and reimbursing expenses to a customer who received medical treatment in Cuba.
The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) said in a statement that the company, based in Miami, chose to pay the penalty to end the dispute with US authorities, who found 39 alleged violations occurred between March 2008 and March 2011.
There are three separate cases involving a total of $ 190.672 dólares.Thirty seven violations are associated with two non-Cubans, identified as the Guatemalan citizen Mario Paredes Cordova, and the Mexican, Daniel González Muñoz.
Cordova faces drug charges in the US courts, while Muñoz was listed by OFAC in 2005 for alleged ties to drug traffickers cartels to launder money.
The Cuban case
Violations associated with one unidentified traveler to Cuba who was treated on the island occurred between December 3, 2008 and February 18, 2009, and totaled US $14.726.
OFAC’s Cuban Assets Control regulation prevents passengers or any other person to receive reimbursements from US companies for services in Cuba, unless there is a specific license from OFAC for that matter. The measure is interpreted by many policy holders as a questionable interference with a medical situation that may arise on a trip to the island.
Based in Miami
Bupa is a Florida corporation that brings together Bupa Insurance Company (BIC), Bupa Worldwide Corporation (BWW) and US Medical Services Corporation (USAMED) all located in the Miami area and subsidiaries of BUPA, a global health emporium based in London .
Established in 1947, BUPA (British United Provident initials Association) serves over 22 million customers in 190 countries and reported annual profits of 9.1 billion pounds ($14.555 million).
Under the Obama administration the bulk of the fines issued by the Treasury Department concerning violations of the half-century old Cuba embargo have fallen on banks, export companies and travel agencies.
Meanwhile, the government of Raul Castro considers the recent actions of OFAC as an escalation of the financial blockade against Cuba, detailed in the island’s latest report to the United Nations General Assembly. Last week the General Assembly passed a non-binding resolution asking the US to drop its embargo on Cuba. It passed by a 188-2 margin.