Canadian Businessman Gets 15-Year Prison Sentence in Cuba

Sunday, September 28, 2014
A Canadian businessman, who was one of Castro's biggest foreign partners, was handed a 15-year prison sentence on Friday.

Cy Tokmakjian, 74, was arrested in September 2011 and held for nearly three years without charges.

His Ontario-based transportation company, the Tokmakjian Group, had done business with the Castro regime for over 20 years.

During the summer, he faced a summary proceeding -- the outcome of which was clearly predetermined.

His lawyers denounced, "the lack of due process, transparency and independence in the Cuban system."

(Perhaps they should have thought of this while they were turning a blind-eye towards -- and profiting from -- Cuba's repressive dictatorship.)

Two other Canadians associated with Tokmakjian, Claudio Vetere and Marco Puche, were sentenced to 12 and 8 years each, respectively.

And, of course, the Castro regime also confiscated over $100 million of Tokmakjian's company assets.

The Tokmakjian Group has since filed claims worth more than $200 million against Cuba in Canadian courts and at the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris.

(Good luck collecting on that.)

In recent years, dozens of foreign businessmen (from Canada, Sweden, U.K., Mexico, Panama and others) have been imprisoned in Cuba and -- predictably -- had all of their assets confiscated.

Many of these cases have not been publicly revealed due to fear of (even further) repercussions (and coercion) by Castro's regime.

Last year, one of those businessmen, Britain's Stephen Purvis, wrote in The Economist about these arbitrary arrests; their secretive nature; interrogations by Castro's secret police; the confiscations, etc.

"The deception taking place in Cuba is beyond imagination," the Tokmakjian Group told the AP today.

We could have told them that long ago.

Image below: Cuban dictator Fidel Castro with Canadian businessman Cy Tokmakjian.