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The cause for corruption imposed on 17 members of Tokmakjian Group, Canadian company with a branch in Havana, concluded with sentences between 6 and 20 years for each of the defendants, including Cy Tokmakjian, company founder.

Of the 17 convicted, 14 are Cubans, including two government officials, and 3 are executives of the Canadian firm. The case has generated considerable skepticism among diplomats, who believe that the evidence was weak. The Canadian company described the process as a "sham trial" and "travesty of justice".

Public opinion says that the final decision of the trial threatens to alienate foreign investors at a time when Havana is actively seeking partners abroad. With this process the relationship between Cuba and Canada has suffered.

Among the submitted charges are: corruption, forgery of bank documents, fraud, trafficking in foreign exchange and tax evasion around Tokmakjian Group. The government also confiscated about 100 million in company assets.

Tokmakjian Group had over 20 years doing business with Cuba, primarily focused on the sale of transportation equipment, mining and construction, with annual revenue of about $ 80 million.

Cy Tokmakjian, 74 years old, was sentenced to 15 years in prison, of which already served three since his arrest. Executives Claudio Vetere and Marco Puche were sentenced to 12 and 8 years in prison each.

Moreover, among the 14 Cubans are sentenced Nelson Labrada, who used to be minister of the disappeared Ministry of Sugar, sentenced to 20 years in prison; and Ernesto Gomez, former director of the state-owned company Ferroníquel Minera S.A, who received a sentence of 12 years.

Source: Diario de Cuba

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