It is a risk that all unscrupulous businessmen take on whenever they do business with a criminal enterprise. One day you can be enjoying a very profitable business relationship and the next day, when you have worn out your welcome, suddenly you find out that now you have become a target.
As lawless mafias are wont to do, the Cuban mafia — run by the Castro crime family and masquerading as the government of Cuba — can turn on you in an instant once they feel you are no longer needed.
Cuba sentences Canadian businessman to nine years in prison
For almost two years as he sat in a Havana prison awaiting trial on corruption charges, Canadian businessman Sarkis Yacoubian held out hope that by collaborating with the Cuban authorities and fingering a wide web of foreign and domestic corporate intrigue, he would get some leniency.
“They are going to bring down my sentence, provided that I go along with them,” he had told the Star in a series of exclusive jailhouse phone interviews.
But that didn’t happen.
Three weeks after he was put on trial late last month, Yacoubian finally got word he has been sentenced to nine years in prison.
“We were shocked,” said Krikor Yacoubian, Sarkis’ brother in Toronto. “We were anticipating less with the collaboration, but they did not budge much.”
Krikor says his jailed brother was stunned when he first heard the news from his Cuban lawyer.
“He was silent for awhile, for a good minute,” he said. “Not tearful or angry. He said, ‘OK let’s go to the next step.’”
That next step, the family says, will be a protracted battle to try to get the 53-year-old Yacoubian transferred to Canada to serve out his sentence.
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