Cuba shuts down second Canadian trading company

Fri Sep 16, 2011 2:50pm EDT
 
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By Marc Frank

HAVANA (Reuters) - Cuba has shut down one of the most important western trading companies in the country as an investigation into alleged corrupt import-export practices broadened to a second Canadian firm, foreign business sources said on Friday.

State security agents on Friday watched who entered the building in Havana's Miramar Trade Center where Ontario-based Tokmakjian Group, one of the top Canadian companies doing business on the communist-run island, has its offices.

The company offices on the fourth floor were sealed with a notice that it had been closed by Cuban State Security.

"We received notice on Monday from the foreign ministry and the Council of State, which is the procedure in such cases, to stop all dealings with the Tokmakjian Group," said an employee of a Cuban company that does business with the firm.

Like other people who spoke to Reuters about the clampdown on the company, she asked that her name not be used.

Tokmakjian Group is estimated to do around $80 million in business annually with the Caribbean island, mainly selling transportation, mining and construction equipment.

The company is the exclusive Cuba distributor of Hyundai, among other brands, and a partner in two joint ventures replacing the motors of Soviet-era transportation equipment.

Company officials were not immediately available for comment.   Continued...