POLITICS

Cy Tokmakjian, Canadian Businessman Jailed In Cuba On Corruption Charges, Returns Home

02/21/2015 01:52 EST | Updated 04/23/2015 05:59 EDT
CNW Group/Tokmakjian Group
VAUGHAN, Ont. - A Canadian businessman is back in Canada following more than three years in Cuba due to a prolonged legal dispute.

Cy Tokmakjian (tok-MAK'-jee-an), who founded automotive company Tokmakjian Group in Vaughan, Ont., was sentenced last September to 15 years in prison on corruption-related charges.

Tokmakjian was charged after the company's Cuban offices were raided in 2011 as the country launched an anti-graft drive and his family called the charges unfounded.

Lawyer Barry Papazian said Saturday that Tokmakjian is in "good health, fantastic spirits, and is looking forward to spending time with his family."

In a statement, Papazian thanked former foreign affairs minister John Baird, Ambassador Yves Gagnon in Cuba, and Thornhill MP Peter Kent for helping secure Tokmakjian's release.

Papazian gave no details of what led to Tokmakjian's return to Canada, but said he was welcomed home by his family, friends, and thousands of employees.

"The Tokmakjian family is sincerely thankful for the tremendous support of Canada throughout this ordeal," he said.

Tokmakjian Group had alleged the charges against its president were concocted as an excuse to seize the automotive firm's $100 million in assets in Cuba.

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