Investment in Cuba | +150 million in assets gone overnight

Investment in Cuba

Investment in Cuba


Stephen Purvis (british)
Amado Fakhre (british)
Vahe “Cy” Tokmakjian (Canadian)
Jean Louis Autret (French)
Sarkis Yacoubian (Canadian)



The above names are just a few of Cuba´s prominent investors from the 90´s who´s liberty, assets and future in Cuba has been taken away over the past 24 months. Some say it’s not a coincidence that these 5 managed firms which were pivotal to the explosion of foreign investment in Cuba via the law 77 that Fidel Castro himself introduced and, is better known as the 1995 Foreign Investment law.



Those familiar with those affected, who are now either serving sentences of up to 15 years or, are about to be tried in Cuban courts to serve similar sentences, tell similar stories of when things started to go wrong. Firstly, apologies and excuses arrived around 2 years ago when bank accounts held in Cuban Banks such as Banco Metropolitano or Banco Financiero Internacional by foreign companies were mysteriously emptied but, the “on paper” statement balances left untouched. Only those people who requested to wire money out of Cuba or those requesting to withdraw large amounts was informed that their accounts could “not be operated temporarily”. Basically, the funds had been removed under orders from the 1 party government’s central committee.



Still, bigger players, such as those above, were offered convincing explanations about how all would be well shortly. Most of them bought into the excuses, with little other options available anyway. But, it could have been the warning they failed to see. Others did not buy into it and started making noise locally and to their respective consulates on the island. As alleged retaliation, licenses to operate on the island mysteriously expired while others embarrassingly left the island, leaving their money and investments behind. Probably a good move in hindsight but, the aforementioned were not so lucky…



Unluckily, Coral Capital, Tokmakjian, Tri-Star Caribbean and Jean-Louis Autret had set up veritable investment companies, investing 10´s of millions in Cuba´s ailing economy since the mid 90´s, meaning that their financial exposure was simply impossible to walk away from. The golden boys of Cuba´s foreign investment renaissance seemed to have it all. That is until now.



As a common theme, all of the above had over 10 million dollars invested in Cuba and, Coral Capital is reported to have invested over 80 million in projects as varied as a plastics factory and the Saratoga Hotel. That’s a lot of money for Raul Castro’s government to pay back and, a lot of money to find if the government wanted to buy out these investments.



Probably the easiest way of universally acquiring the assets of these investment companies was to accuse each one of their principals of some type of corruption or violation of local laws. This would invariably serve to secure all the assets overnight with the caveat of discrediting the companies to the outside world. In golf terms, a “hole in one”



Of course, onlookers and Cuba watchers look on in amazement as to how this brazenly orchestrated arrangement seems to have worked perfectly with little or no impact internationally. Astoundingly, the British consulate in Havana, apparently unfazed by two of its citizens and prominent investors languishing in Cuban jails, is still advertising for British companies to participate in the November 2012 FIHAV trade exhibition at the UK stand. An annual event where foreign companies try to demonstrate goods, services and investment to the Cuban government in hopes that they´ll gain contracts…



Only when we see all these names on one page, such as here, do we begin to see either an implausible asset stripping fluke, well orchestrated “smash and grab” or seemingly unconnected professionals from different nations all committing crimes within months of each other resulting in losing upwards of 150 million dollars in Cuban assets… 


Could this be one of the largest and, apparently successful, (until now) heists since the infamous 1959 expropriation of billions in U.S assets or will Cuba be vindicated when the truth comes out?


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