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Cuba sentences ex-Fidel Castro confidant to 20 years

By Shasta Darlington, CNN
  • A Chilean businessman is convicted of bribery and fraud
  • The businessman is in Chile; Cuba has asked for his extradition
  • A former Cuban food industry minister is convicted in the same trial

Havana (CNN) -- A Cuban court has sentenced a Chilean businessman who was once a close friend of Fidel Castro to 20 years in prison, state media said Thursday.

Max Marambio, whose Rio Zaza company made juices and long-life milk sold across the island, was convicted in absentia of bribery and fraud. Cuba has asked for the extradition of Marambio, who is currently in Chile.

As part of the same trial, former Food Industry Minister Alejandro Francisco Roca Iglesias was convicted of bribery and actions that damaged the economy. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

State-run newspaper Granma said the court determined that the defendants had caused considerable damage to the national economy, but did not provide details.

Marambio once was a bodyguard for Chilean President Salvador Allende. He went into exile in Cuba after Allende was killed in a coup in 1973 and became very close to Fidel Castro.