Cuban airline executives convicted on bribery


HAVANA, Cuba – The Provincial Court of Havana convicted 10 former executives and officials of the Cuban Institute of Civil Aeronautics and the commercializing enterprise of pharmaceutical products, Heber Biotec SA, on bribery and handed down sentences of 3 to 13 years.

An official statement released Friday said the defendants were found guilty of favoring foreign companies in negotiations, at the expense of Cuban enterprises, in exchange for cash bribes and perks.

The communiqué, which provides the names of the people found guilty and the sentences they were given, states that the sanctions were based on the seriousness of the crimes for the substantial loss to the Cuban economy and the deterioration of the defendants’ ethical values, as well as the level of responsibility of each of them and their conduct.

The stiffest sanction went to Cubana de Aviacion’s Freight Director Jose Heriberto Prieto Ferrer, sentenced to 13 years.

There were 3 other executives from Cubana de Aviacion with sentences of 10 to 6 years, one from Corporación de la Aviación Civil SA (CACSA) and one from Aerovaradero SA, both condemned to 6 years.

From Heber Biotec SA, former Head of the Exports Department Jair Rodriguez Martin, received a 10-year sentence, while Edamir Medina Mendez, exports technician, was condenmed to 3 years.

The court also convicted the manager and deputy manager of Caribe Cargo SA, Alexei Crespo Gutiérrez and Maria Antonia Lopez Gonzalez on continued bribery, and handed down sentences of 6 and 7 years, repectively.

The 2 latter defendants are still pending another trial on corruption.

In addition to the jail terms, the sanctions included the confiscation of goods and cash adquired by the defendants as the result of the illegal activity and the prohibition of exercising the professions, posts, or positions they were holding.

The communiqué said the defendants and the prosecutor have the right to appeal to the Supreme Court.