Canadian Legislator: Foreign Investors Should Beware of Cuba

Monday, September 29, 2014
From Canada's Globe and Mail:

Canadian’s 15-year sentence in Cuba a ‘travesty of justice,’ MP says

A Canadian businessman sentenced in Cuba to 15 years in prison on corruption-related charges should be sent back home, said a Toronto-area MP who called the conviction a “travesty of justice.”

Cy Tokmakjian, who owns the Ontario-based automotive company Tokmakjian Group, could be expelled from the Caribbean country or transferred to a Canadian facility instead of serving out his sentence there, Peter Kent said Sunday.

“It’s obvious an appeal is a waste of time given the Cuban justice system,” Kent said.

But “it’s not over yet,” he stressed.

The company said its lawyers were notified Friday that Tokmakjian, 74, was convicted and sentences on a variety of charges that Cuban officials call part of a widespread campaign against graft.

He was held for more than two years before being tried in June.

Kent, whose Thornhill riding includes the company’s headquarters, said the sentence is “outrageous,” but not entirely unexpected.

Tokmakjian’s family “hasn’t given up hope” but worries because he is in poor health, said the MP, who has known them for years.

“We want to get him home as soon as possible,” he said.

Kent said the case is “a very strong reminder that international investors should beware” when dealing with Cuba.