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Español/ English: Rubio, Menendez Urge Treasury Secretary To Hold Shell Companies Aiding The Cuban Regime Accountable

May 14, 2021 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Bob Menendez (D-NJ) sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen urging her to use all available tools to hold accountable individuals linked to the Cuban regime who are “using an extensive network of shell companies to circumvent U.S. law.”

“According to a recent investigation by the Miami Herald and Nuevo Herald, the Cuban regime has utilized a network of ‘hidden shell companies and secretive jurisdictions’ to ‘borrow money and to buy, sell and charter the ships that bring in chemicals, fuel, and construction supplies needed to build the growing tourism sector and export minerals,’ wrote the senators.

“Given the manner in which Acemex has circumvented U.S. law, we are concerned that the company serves as a business model for corrupt regimes looking to violate and undermine the effectiveness of U.S. sanctions without facing necessary consequences,” continued the senators.

Rubio is the Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Transnational Crime, Civilian Security, Democracy, Human Rights, and Global Women’s Issues. 

Menendez is the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. 

The full text of the letter is below.

Dear Secretary Yellen: 

We write with regard to recent concerning reports of how the Cuban regime is using an extensive network of shell companies to circumvent U.S. law. As the Cuban regime utilizes these shell companies to enrich the country’s corrupt political elite and expand military control over Cuba’s economy, we urge you to use all available tools to hold accountable the entities and individuals linked to this scheme. 

According to a recent investigation by the Miami Herald and Nuevo Herald, the Cuban regime has utilized a network of “hidden shell companies and secretive jurisdictions” to “borrow money and to buy, sell and charter the ships that bring in chemicals, fuel, and construction supplies needed to build the growing tourism sector and export minerals.”[1] These companies, according to the report, operate under Acemex Management Company Limited, a company linked to the Cuban regime and created in 1984 in Liechtenstein. 

Given the manner in which Acemex has circumvented U.S. law, we are concerned that the company serves as a business model for corrupt regimes looking to violate and undermine the effectiveness of U.S. sanctions without facing necessary consequences. It is essential that the U.S. government work with our European partners to hold accountable Acemex and similar companies linked to the Cuban regime. 

As the Cuban regime’s use of Acemex and a network of shell companies has implications for other U.S. sanctions programs, we respectfully request that the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) conduct an investigation of this matter and take all necessary steps to enforce U.S. law. We also request that you provide our offices with a briefing to discuss the application of the Cuban Assets Control Regulations on this specific matter and whether any regulatory changes need to be made to ensure there are no loopholes that could be exploited by Acemex in this context or by similar companies in other sanctions programs.

We expect the U.S. to work with European and other partners to ensure full implementation and enforcement of U.S. sanctions, including in relation to any company or individuals who has illegally assisted the Cuban regime in its goal to oppress the democratic freedoms and human rights of the Cuban people. 

Thank you for your attention to this important matter. 

Sincerely,

RUBIO, MENENDEZ PIDEN A LA SECRETARÍA DEL TESORO QUE RESPONSABILICE A EMPRESAS FANTASMAS QUE AYUDAN AL RÉGIMEN CUBANO

Washington, DC – Los senadores estadounidenses Marco Rubio (R-FL) y Bob Menendez (D-NJ) le enviaron una carta a la secretaría del Tesoro, Janet Yellen, instándola a que utilice todas las herramientas disponibles para responsabilizar a las personas vinculadas al régimen cubano que están “utilizando un extensa red de empresas fantasma para eludir la ley de EE. UU. “

“Según una investigación reciente del Miami Herald y El Nuevo Herald, el régimen cubano ha utilizado una red de ‘compañías fantasma ocultas y jurisdicciones secretas’ para ‘pedir préstamos de dinero y comprar, vender y fletar los barcos que traen químicos, combustible, y los suministros de construcción necesarios para construir el creciente sector turístico y exportar minerales”, escribieron los senadores.

El texto de la carta en inglés está aquí

Rubio es el Miembro de Más Alto Rango del Subcomité sobre Hemisferio Occidental, Crimen Transnacional, Seguridad Civil, Democracia, Derechos Humanos y Asuntos Globales de la Mujer.

Menéndez es el Presidente del Comité de Relaciones Exteriores.