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[December 07, 2012]
Cuba dismantles 2 illegal telecom networks
HAVANA, Dec 07, 2012 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- Cuban authorities have crushed two underground telecommunications networks operating from abroad to provide fixed and mobile phone services, official media reported Friday.
The clandestine networks were run by two companies owned by Cubans living abroad, respectively in Canada and in Spain. Both countries have seen a growing number of Cuban expatriates.
According to official daily Granma, the two firms illegally used channels owned by state-run telephone company Etecsa "purely to make a profit," having robbed Etecsa of estimated revenues of 3 million U.S. dollars.
One of the two networks, starting operation in 2009, offered Cuban expatriates long-distance call services for 50 cents a minute and text message services for 5 cents a piece.
Nine Cuban citizens have been charged, four of whom are in custody, since the investigation began in September.
The suspects, including two Etecsa employees, face charges of fraud, which can land them in prison for up to 10 years, and illegal economic activity, which carries a maximum jail term of three years.
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