Cuba corruption case Britons Fakhre and Purvis freed

Stephen Purvis going to court for his trial in Havana. Stephen Purvis's appearances in court were closed to the press and public

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Two British businessmen who faced corruption charges in Cuba have been released, the British Embassy has said.

Amado Fakhre, executive director of an investment firm, was arrested in 2011 while Stephen Purvis, chief of operations, was detained in 2012.

The offices of their company, Coral Capital Group, were shut down during an anti-corruption crackdown by President Raul Castro's government.

They were both charged shortly before their trial, which was held last month.

Embassy spokesman Rhys Patrick said Mr Purvis was freed on Monday and Mr Fakhre was released on Wednesday. He said he could not discuss why the men were freed, nor give any information on their whereabouts.

'Serious threat'

Both had been held at La Condesa prison in Havana following the crackdown on Coral Capital which, before it closed, had joint ventures with Cuban government businesses in managing hotels around the island and represented a number of foreign car companies in the country.

President Castro has said that corruption poses the most serious threat to Cuba's socialist system, and in recent years the Cuban authorities have been pursuing corruption cases against both foreign people and Cubans.

As a consequence, several dozen defendants have ended up in jail, including a number of foreigners and high ranking government officials accused of taking bribes and influence peddling.

Correction, 22 June 2013: This story originally said that both men were arrested in 2011 but it has now been clarified that Mr Purvis was detained in 2012.

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