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  HOME | Cuba

Cuba Tries Former Official, Chilean Businessman for Corruption

HAVANA – A Cuban court is now weighing its verdict in a corruption case against former government minister Alejandro Roca Iglesias and Chilean businessman Max Marambio, Communist Party daily Granma said Thursday.

Marambio, who boycotted the investigation and prosecution, was tried in absentia.

Roca, dismissed as Food Industry ministry by President Raul Castro in March 2009, was accused of taking bribes for the awarding of contracts and faces a potential 15 years in prison.

The Chilean entrepreneur is charged with bribery and falsifying financial and commercial documents.

Marambio and the Cuban government were equal partners in Alimentos Rio Zaza, a food company operating on the communist-ruled island. He resides in Santiago and last visited Cuba in December 2009.

The Chilean was represented at the trial by a court-appointed attorney, Granma said.

Cuba’s investigation of alleged bribery, embezzlement and fraud at Rio Zaza became public in April 2010 after the firm’s general manager, Chilean engineer Roberto Baudrand, was found dead in his Havana apartment.

Medical examiners attributed his death to “acute respiratory insufficiency” associated with drugs and alcohol.

Once a close friend of retired Cuban President Fidel Castro, Marambio was the principal backer of independent candidate Marco Enriquez-Ominami in the 2009 Chilean presidential contest won by right-wing billionaire Sebastian Piñera.

In his 2008 book, “Las armas de ayer” (Yesterday’s weapons), Marambio recounts that he trained as a revolutionary in Cuba and later became chief bodyguard for Chilean President Salvador Allende, a Socialist who took his own life during the 1973 military coup that toppled his government. EFE
 

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