Two Private Restaurants Closed in Havana

June 13, 2017 | Print Print |

By Fernando Ravsberg

The El Litoral restaurant in Havana has been closed reportedly over money laundering accusations.

HAVANA TIMES – Cuban authorities have launched a campaign to prevent the economic opening on the island from being ripe for money laundering from abroad. The owner of two successful restaurants on the Havana seafront has been the first to be arrested.

The Police specialists made an exhaustive search of the two restaurants (Lungo Mare and El Litoral) as well as the owner’s house where they went as far as raising the floors.

The speculation is huge between the neighbors and the rest of the owners of restaurants and cafes.
One of his “paladares” had already been fined for receiving stolen goods but the source said he is now accused of money laundering tied to drug trafficking. With such a judicial case, the possibility of the businesses reopening is slim.

The Lungo Mare restaurant is the other business which has been closed.

In the Cuban economic opening to private forms of property, some foreigners have seen the possibility of investing through a Cuban with money obtained through illicit activities or simply of undeclared gains to the treasury of their countries.

Controls have tightened over the past few years, even when it involves money arriving through bank wires. Its now a common practice that before the transfer of large sums to the country the banking authorities investigate the origin and the final destination of those funds.

What's your opinion?

  • Carlyle MacDuff

    I like the euphemism used by Fernando Ravsberg to describe MININT! “the banking authorities”. I suppose that the owner is now relaxing at the Villa Mariska and will duly confess.

  • Ryan Ross

    Just one ugly head of capitalism rearing its head.

    • Eden Wong

      “… Just one ugly head of capitalism rearing its head…”

      Lots and lots and lots of corruption going on in non-capitalist Cuba too. Look at the dozens and dozens and dozens of people who just lost their jobs in Old Havana because of skimming profits, and the 40+ Cadeca managers and tellers who were recently fired because of scams.

      These two businesses being shutdown are nothing compared to what has already been happening for decades.

      • Kennedy Earle Clarke

        Brother Eden Wong, In 1989 when Cuba discovered that one of its top military brass was involved in the illicit drug trade, Cuba executed him. Instead of congratulating Cuba, the crooked USA condemned the execution stating that Fidel feared the criminal who was more popular than him. When Cuba catches drug smugglers from the USA in its waters, it repatriates them to the USA. China, like Cuba has introduced some vestiges of free enterprise into its economic development, bearing in mind that it is a corrupt system.

        To combat the corruption in the system, China has introduced severe penalties to anyone found corrupted and pursues them world wide, returning them to Beijing where they are punished severely. What Cuba is doing is to ensure that the corruption which is practiced in the USA on a daily basis and which is the normal way of life there, does not raise its ugly head in the country. People like you who are devoid of principle and respect would be blinded by the morality of the Cuban Government.

        Brother Wong, if you do not possess a decent suit of clothing, how can you be expected to dress decently and look respectably, eh? Please to tell me brother Wong?

  • Sky

    Given the huge investments being made in some guest houses and restaurants with real top end refurbishments despite no deductibles for small businesses in Cuba and ridiculous import duties, these investments are most definitely likely to be dodgy. The only question is Whether they are dodgy foreigners or dodgy (party/military) Cubans…

  • joe ryan

    More like the ugly head of Communism cracking down on a hard work entrepreneur.

  • Eden Wong

    Not surprised at all. At was only a matter of time. I expect lots of other enterprises to bite the dust shortly as well.

    • Carlyle MacDuff

      Excellent assessment!

  • pinetree

    I would rather hear your reasons why you think Clarke’s post is incoherent, irrational and disjointed. The 40 cadec managers were caught and fired. It is a lot more risky to engage in illegal businesses in Cuba than in Capitalist countries.

    • Carlyle MacDuff

      if you are a regular reader of Havana Times ‘pinetree’ you will know that the comment made by Eden Wong about Kennedy Earle Clarke being incoherent, irrational and disjointed, applies to almost all his contributions. All the Eden Wong did was to comment correctly. Just try to re-read what Kennedy Earle Clarke wrote.

    • Eden Wong

      “… It is a lot more risky to engage in illegal businesses in Cuba than in Capitalist countries…”

      100% false. Cuba is corrupt on EVERY level, period. I deal with it with every single business transaction I make here. Sometimes it’s very minor and no more than a few bucks and a beer, other times it’s major cash.

      To think that Cuba is somehow magically less corrupt than many other places is absolutely ludicrous. Try doing any kind of business here and you’ll immediately see how every single aspect of the country requires graft.

  • CErmle

    You missed everything he was saying. Read it again.

    • Eden Wong

      “… You missed everything he was saying. Read it again…”

      I didn’t miss anything. His insinuation that Cuba isn’t absolutely riddled with corruption top to bottom is laughable.

  • rodrigvm

    They also were allowing prostitution…..I saw it last august…