Now that Tokmakjian is in prison and the Cuban government has officially revoked his companys license to operate, there are questions about what the Cubans will do if their courts rule that Tokmakjian contracts backed by the CCC were tainted by corruption.
The Tokmakjian Group is reported to be the second largest Canadian operation in Cuba, with at least $80 million in annual sales in the country.
Raffi Tokmakjian says his father fell in love with the place when he began investing in Cuba in the 1960s.
Yacoubian, too, had big dreams when he first came to Cuba in 1993. He quickly became fluent in Spanish and, after working briefly for Tokmakjian, he built his company, Tri-Star Caribbean, into a flourishing $30-million-a-year enterprise.
It all came crashing down when plainclothes security officers swept into his offices in Havana in July 2011.
Whisked away to a safe house for questioning and allowed outside for only one hour a day, Yacoubian says he slipped into desperation and depression. I had lost my mind, he says. I was talking to myself, banging my head.
Then Yacoubian made a fateful choice: He blew the whistle. Maybe in my conscience I wanted my company to be brought down so that I could tell once for all things that are going on, he says. It was just eating me alive.
He told his interrogators that he had little choice but to hand over money to bureaucrats or officials to secure contracts or even to ensure they were honored after winning a bid.
If I didnt pay, at the end of the day they would just create problems for me, he says. Prosecutors allege in their court filing that Yacoubian or his employees bribed at least a dozen state officials with everything from nice dinners and prepaid phone cards to cash $300 for a tip on a deal, $50,000 for a 2008 contract on earth movers.
Yacoubian disputes many of the details in the charges. But he says what bothered him was that some of the foreign businessmen were bigger crooks than the Cubans, profiting unduly from shady business dealings often, he says, with support or subsidies from Western governments.
Yacoubian says he spent the next few months turning what could have been a police grilling of him into a kind of Corruption 101 class for his interrogators.
I tried to explain to them systematically how things could be done, he says. I gave them drawings, designs. I gave them names, people, how they do it, why, when, where, what.
Yacoubian did not know that his tell-all tale would become fodder for a campaign against corruption led by Raul Castro.
The Reuters news agency reported in February 2012 that Yacoubians videotaped confession was the centerpiece in a video titled Metastasis that describes payoffs and bribes spreading like cancer into high levels of the Cuban government.
In the video, shown only to top government and Communist Party officials, Yacoubian confesses he passed packets of money to Cuban officials, Reuters reported.
Tokmakjian is also featured and accused of corruption. His children say he firmly denies any wrongdoing, insisting there have been yearly audits of their business partnerships with the Cubans with no issues.
Tokmakjian and Yacoubian were eventually transferred to La Condesa, a prison reserved for foreigners and disgraced government officials although the Canadians are kept apart in separate barracks.