Friday, May 31, 2013

Britons on trial in Cuba corruption crackdown

Posted on Thursday, 05.30.13

Britons on trial in Cuba corruption crackdown
The Associated Press

HAVANA -- Two British businessmen targeted in a corruption probe in Cuba
went on trial Thursday, as authorities continue to press a crackdown on
graft that has caught up several other foreigners and dozens of islanders.

A court official identified suspects Amado Fakhre, a British citizen of
Lebanese origin who was executive director of Coral Capital Group, and
fellow Briton Stephen Purvis, the investment firm's chief of operations.

A half-dozen Cubans were also being tried in the case.

Coral Capital partnered with government entities on hotel management and
represented automobile companies in Cuba until it was shuttered in 2011.

Purvis was seen entering a Havana building that houses a special
tribunal Thursday morning, wearing a checkered shirt and escorted by an
apparent state security agent.

He did not speak to reporters. The Cuban government did not comment on
the case or allow media access to the proceedings.

Automobiles with license plates identifying them as belonging to the
British Embassy in Havana suggested that U.K. diplomats were on hand to

Canadian businessman Sarkis Yacoubian, president of another company,
Tri-Star Caribbean, went on trial last week in the same courthouse on
reported charges of bribery, tax evasion and "activities damaging to the

No verdict has been issued in Yacoubian's case.

Another Canadian man, Cy Tokmakjian of the Tokmakjian Group, is also
expected to go on trial shortly.

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