News and Facts about Cuba

Cuba court sentences Chilean to 20 years for graft

Posted on Thursday, 05.05.11

Cuba court sentences Chilean to 20 years for graft
Associated Press

HAVANA — A Cuban court sentenced Chilean
revolutionary-turned-businessman Max Marambio, long a friend of Fidel
Castro, to 20 years in for fraud and bribery following a trial in
absentia, official news media reported Thursday.

Communist Party newspaper Granma also said a 15-year sentence was handed
down to Alejandro Roca Iglesias, who was removed as minister in
March 2009.

Officials gave few details about the scandal, but Granma said the court
"found that the crimes committed were particularly grave and required an
energetic penal response due to the considerable damage caused by the
accused to the national ."

It said prosecutors presented compelling evidence that both "impaired
the ethical behavior of various officials and subordinate workers." The
men have 10 days to appeal the ruling.

Marambio did not mount a defense, let alone attend the proceedings in
Havana, where he was represented by a government-appointed attorney. He
said Thursday that he would not appeal what he called a show trial whose
true intent was political .

"There is nothing in the accusations against me that has any
foundation," he told 's Cooperativa radio.

Marambio first met in 1966 when he traveled to Cuba with
his father, part of a delegation of sympathetic left-leaning political
leaders. Marambio would later become chief bodyguard for Chile's
socialist Salvador Allende.

When a military coup toppled Allende in 1973, Marambio fled for Cuba
where he developed close ties to Castro and ultimately established
wide-ranging commercial interests including food company Rio Zaza, a
joint venture with the Cuban government.

The corruption probe surfaced last year after a Chilean who worked for
Marambio's company and had been questioned by investigators was found
dead in his Havana apartment. Authorities have not said how he died.

Cuba accused top executives including Marambio and his brother Marcel
Luis Marambio, a company vice president, of bribery, embezzlement and
falsifying documents.

Prosecutors summoned Marambio from Chile for questioning and, when he
failed to appear, put out an international arrest warrant.

On Thursday, Marambio said Cuba has never formally sought his
extradition, "which leads one to think they have no interest in a real
trial but rather a pantomime, which was what they did."

He accused President 's government of "plundering" for having
seized full control of the company.

Marambio filed a formal complaint against Cuba last year with an
international business tribunal in Paris.

Associated Press writer Federico Quilodran in Santiago, Chile,
contributed to this report.

Tag: Corruption

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