Cuba: Canadian Businessman Charged on Multiple Accounts by Cuban Government

Published: 09 July 2014


Havana, Cuba


The Cuban Government has allegedly falsely charged Canadian businessman after he spoke out against the corruption that plagues Cuba.

Cy Tokmakjian, president and founder of the Tokmakjian Group, one of Canada’s largest transportation companies, has been in business with Cuba for 22 years selling busses, other vehicles, and parts to public and private companies. However, after recently criticizing corruption in Cuba, Tokmakjian is likely to be sent to prison, reports Reuters.

In 2011 Tokmakjian, 74, was arrested and held without charge for two and half years. Earlier in 2014, he was subsequently charged with bribery, fraud, currency trafficking, forgery, tax evasion, and crimes against the Cuban economy. However, those closest to Tokmakjian continue to maintain that the charges against him are entirely baseless. Lee Hacker, vice president of finance for the Tokmakjian Group, calls this a situation in which truth and logic are not part of the equation, reports CTV News.

Hacker states that the regime charged Tokmakjian for speaking out against suspected corruption in Cuba when the firm lost contracts for “unexplained reasons.” He also says that it is true that Tokmakjian was outspoken, giving his opinions on high-ranking Cuban officials that were controversial in nature. And most threatening to the regime, some opinions are now part of the economic reforms that have been occurring. This may likely be the reason for the government going after the Canadian Businessman, The Financial Post reports. 

According to CTV News, the defense has accused the prosecution of trying to “spice up contractual and commercial relations with criminal elements” with the allegations against Tokmakjian which state that he extended financial favors to Cuban officials in order to further his business in the nation.

The suit is seeking US$150 million “for unlawful seizure, conversion, unjust enrichment and unlawful interference with economic relations,” as well as US$10 million for related legal costs and damages that may arise in the future as a result.