No surprise here, except for the fact that Associated Press is actually reporting this story.
Foreign businesses that don’t give the Castro Mafia their cut always find themselves in hot water.
Doing business with the Castro regime is a lot like doing business with any crime syndicate.
Hapless Mr. Cy Tokmakjian found out the hard way. He obviously thought that greasing the palms of underlings and short-circuiting the upper echelon would help him keep more of his profits.
But noooooooooooooooooooooo!, as John Belushi might have said.
The top brass never allow anyone to cut them out of their take.
Given his age, this 15-year sentence amounts to life imprisonment for Mr. Tokmakjian, or a death sentence. Same rotten deal as American hostage Alan Gross.
Will this shameless prison sentence deter foreigners from dealing with Castrogonia?
No way. Those who do business with the Castro Mafia delude themselves so much that this will be seen by most of them as some aberration.
As long as you are making money, no one else’s bad fortune matters much — until you become the one with “bad fortune.”
And “bad fortune” is so easy to encounter in a land where all business deals include some sort of “chantaje” or “estafa,”– or extortion or dirty-dealing under the table.
This sentence is all about the top brass in Castrogonia sending a signal to all other foreign business people dealing with Castro, Inc.: give us at the very top our cut, or we will punish you.
The only saving grace here is the fact that AP had the gumption to report on this charade, which the Castro regime tried to hide by announcing the sentence late on a Friday afternoon.
Castro regime slaps Canadian businessman with 15-year prison sentence
HAVANA – A Canadian company says its president has been sentenced in Cuba to 15 years in prison on corruption-related charges that Cuban officials call part of a widespread campaign against graft.
The Ontario-based automotive company Tokmakjian Group says its lawyers were notified Friday that Cy Tokmakjian was convicted and sentenced on a variety of charges.
Company vice-president Lee Hacker tells The Associated Press that firm managers Claudio Vetere and Marco Puche got shorter sentences.
Cuban officials have provided few details about the case.
But dozens of Cuban executives and government officials and a series of foreigners have been swept up in what is described as an attack on a culture of payoffs by foreigners.
The arrests sent a chill through international business people investing in Cuba.
The company’s website lists its head office in Concord, Ont.
The website says it provides both transportation services and engine repairs.
A statement released by the company in July defended Tokmakjian against the accusations, saying they were “legitimate commercial transactions.”
It also said the trial, which ended June 21, was unfairly stacked against him.
The statement said Tokmakjian was held without charge for two years while the results of the investigation were kept secret, and then given just two months to present a defence.
It also said the Cuban court rejected 14 of 18 proposed defence witnesses, including international tax experts.
Cuba’s Communist Party newspaper Granma has said Tokmakjian was accused of corruption to obtain benefits in contract negotiations, unauthorized financial transactions, illegally taking large amounts of money out of the country, falsifying documents to avoid taxes and payroll irregularities.