Canadian who crossed Castro crime family speaks out from a Cuban prison

When you do business with criminals, sooner or later, it catches up to you.

Via The Miami Herald:

Canadian jailed in Havana corruption scandal speaks out over a scratchy telephone line from inside a Cuban prison, Sarkis Yacoubian’s voice goes suddenly silent. He’s crying.

“I was so depressed at times, I wanted to commit suicide,” says the 53-year-old entrepreneur.

In exclusive interviews from the La Condesa prison, Yacoubian provides an insider’s view of a sweeping anti-corruption campaign by the government of Raúl Castro that has seen several foreign businessmen — including himself and another Toronto-area businessman — jailed.

A joint investigation by The Toronto Star and El Nuevo Herald has found that in a corruption-plagued country described in secret U.S. government cables as “a state on the take,” the two jailed Canadians are embroiled in a high-stakes diplomatic and legal stand-off between Havana and Ottawa, potentially jeopardizing millions in taxpayer dollars that underwrite Canada’s trade with Cuba.

Arrested in July 2011 and detained for nearly two years without charges, Yacoubian, who ran a transport and trading company, was finally handed a 63-page indictment last month accusing him of bribery, tax evasion and “activities damaging to the economy.”

A suspect who says he quickly pointed the finger at widespread wrongdoing by other Canadian and foreign businesses, Yacoubian now faces up to 12 years in prison after he pleads guilty at his trial set to begin next Thursday. The charges were filed in a special Havana court for Crimes against the Security of the State, which can effectively hold trials in secret.

“They found out this was an epidemic going all over the place and I was the fall guy,” says Yacoubian. “They want to give an example to the rest of the businessmen. They want to scare them to death.”

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5 thoughts on “Canadian who crossed Castro crime family speaks out from a Cuban prison

  1. Que se jodan y lastima que no hayan mas, complices de mierda e hijos de puta.

    The problem is simple. The trained parasites that are Cuban officials smell a host with money and go extort it like the thugs they are but the leaders of the cult, the fraudulent, economically inept, slavish, and egotistical Castro brothers, fear that they might loose control of their essential minions the moment such people realize that foreign elements are independently providing them the same or more. It is that simple. That is the main reason communism failed in Ethiopia and you better believe that if I know it the Castros know it.

    The Cuban economy was destroyed, misery was purposely imposed, and the slavish stalinist model was stablished by Castro, at the total expense of the Cuba republic, so that the all kickbacks and money only came from the top down and only to those that served the high spheres of his regime at command. Today the soviet subsidies for pimping Cuba are long gone and as a result certain amount of money has been permitted to flow somewhat freely so that it moves from the bottom up. Yet, private property is still illegal and the flow of money is still extremely restrained and monitored for the sake of control.

    That said, they will strike the moment they see any substantial flow of cash moving outside their control, even if it’s not stolen. In capitalism it could be deemed extortion and corruption but for criminals who actually extort and live off corruption, it is simply a matter of not having someone else take their employees (the ones that can only work for one employee, the state). In capitalism you work for whomever gives you the most, be it money, convenience, recognition, opportunity, etc. Under communism, well, let’s just say that whoever starts giving their trained dogs stake while they give out dry food is going to get in trouble.

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