Joint Investigation Reveals Further Role of Cuban Officials in Offshore Schemes
Cuban Officials in Panama Papers
Leaked data reveals the existence of dozens of businesses associated with senior figures.
*By Reporters in Cuba
Officials from Cuba’s Communist party used a Swiss lawyer to establish offshore companies for their global business activities, the so-called Panama Papers have revealed.
The unprecedented leak of 11.5 million tax documents from the Mossack Fonseca law firm in Panama exposed the offshore holdings and financial transactions of heads of state, officials and celebrities around the world.
Although Cuban law does not include any specific legislation on state officials and offshore interests, such dealings are frowned upon in the strictly communist country.
The Panama Papers revealed that Albert-Louis Dupont Willemin, a lawyer from an aristocratic Swiss family, was a high-level legal advisor and intermediary for more than 20 offshore companies with business ties to Cuba.
Also see Cuban Officials in Panama Papers – supporting documents (PDF).
Dupont Willemin, who also serves as the honorary consul of Guatemala in Geneva, created two offshore companies located in the British Virgin Islands through registered agent Mossack Fonseca – Curtdale Investments Limited and Ardpoint Company Inc.
Dupont Willemin’s office said that he had no interest in commenting on this matter.
Hernán Aguilar Parra, a member of the Cuban Assembly of People’s Power, is listed in the Panama Papers as director of both companies. Parra left office last November 2015, a year after the 2014 general elections.
According to the leaked data, the offshore companies are associated with the Tabacuba Business Group, a state company that owns all production and marketing of Cuban tobacco. Parra also served as Tabacuba director until 2015, and is now believed to have left the tobacco sector.
“Deputies [of the Cuban Assembly] have restrictions,” a spokesman for the legal aid charity the Cubalex Center for Legal Information said. “The role of deputies is ad honores [not seeking any reward] and cannot be used for personal benefit. It is one of the duties established by the law.”
“The law does not impose managers or directors of companies prohibition against establishing relations with private companies,” the spokesman continued.
“But it would not be viewed favourably if a state official, taking advantage of his function of office, establishes trade relations with private companies.”
Tabacuba’s former production director, Inocente Osvaldo Encarnación, was also linked to the offshore Ardpoint Company Inc. During a telephone interview, Osvaldo Encarnación confirmed that he was a shareholder in a company but refused to give its name. He declined to comment on any links to Ardpoint.
The Mossack Fonseca records were obtained by the German publication Süddeutsche Zeitung and shared with colleagues from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).
Although the leaked data does not indicate any specific crime or breach of the law, it gives an intriguing insight into a web of relations.
Corporación Panamericana, based in Havana, is the entity responsible for providing Mossack Fonseca’s services to Cuban companies. According to the papers, Cuban lawyer Katiuska Penado Moreno has been the corporation’s legal representative.
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