Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Canada agency helped finance deals for exec jailed in Cuba

Canada agency helped finance deals for exec jailed in Cuba
Source: Reuters - Mon, 29 Sep 2014 22:46 GMT
By David Ljunggren

OTTAWA, Sept 29 (Reuters) - A little-known Canadian federal agency
helped put in place C$155.7 million ($139 million) worth of deals for
firms in Cuba over a three-year period including some for Cy Tokmakjian,
the businessman jailed for corruption in Havana last week.

The Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC) acts as Canada's international
contracting and procurement agency, helping Canadian firms bid for
procurement contracts with foreign governments.

When acting as a prime contractor the CCC helps mitigate risks by
signing a contract with a foreign government and then a separate
contract with a Canadian supplier. This ensures that a company does not
need to worry about being paid as long as it fulfils the term of the

In Cuba, the CCC helped Canadian businessmen like Tokmakjian by
providing trade financing to Cuban government buyers.

In 2010, the agency opened a Latin American office in Havana but in 2013
it stopped arranging trade financing deals with Cuba and handed
responsibility for the file to Export Development Canada.

EDC officials said this was because EDC was more familiar with trade
financing than the CCC. A spokesman for the EDC said the corporation had
had no dealings with the Tokmakjian Group.

The CCC arranged deals for the firm in the sugar industry as well as in
the tourism sector, the Tokmakjian Group's vice-president of finance,
Lee Hacker, told Reuters on Monday. Hacker did not give details of
individual deals.

Cy Tokmakjian, the Ontario company's founder, has been sentenced to 15
years in prison on charges that include bribery, fraud, tax evasion, and
falsifying bank documents. His company called the case a "show trial"
and a "travesty of justice."

"We would give invoices to Canadian Commercial Corporation. (They) would
then give certain financing to the Cubans whether it would be one year,
two years or longer, depending, and we would get paid by CCC," said Hacker.

CCC did not immediately respond to a request for details on the value of
those contracts. The CCC lists a total of C$155.7 million in Cuban
contracts for fiscal years 2010/11 to 2012/13.

The CCC says all of its contracts with Canadian suppliers include a
clause specifically forbidding bribery of foreign government officials.

"Should a Canadian supplier be found bribing a government official while
under a CCC contract, the corporation reserves the right to impose
various sanctions," the CCC says on its website.

($1=$1.11 Canadian) (Additional reporting by Allison Martell in Toronto,
editing by Ross Colvin)

Source: Canada agency helped finance deals for exec jailed in Cuba -

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