HAVANA—Cuba’s foreign minister on Thursday denied knowing anything about an American multimillionaire who reportedly fled here to avoid tax fraud charges, but said the island is not a haven for those fleeing justice.
“Cuba has never been a refuge for those fleeing justice,” Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque told international journalists.
He pointed out that three men were arrested in Cuba this month on charges stemming from a Mexico City corruption investigation, and that island authorities were working closely with their counterparts from Mexico.
In the U.S. case, publishing tycoon and philanthropist Herbert Axelrod reportedly traveled here in recent days to avoid arraignment this week on charges he hid income from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.
A federal judge in Trenton, N.J., issued a warrant for Axelrod’s arrest when he failed to appear for the Wednesday hearing.
In Trenton, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Guadagno said Axelrod’s yacht was docked at Havana’s Marina Hemingway. Several telephone calls placed to the resort rang unanswered Thursday afternoon.
The United States has no extradition treaty with Cuba.
Axelrod, 76, is a philanthropist best known for selling millions of dollars worth of musical instruments at a discount to the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra.
Axelrod was charged with using Swiss bank accounts to hide more than $700,000 in income from the IRS related to the publishing company he owned that specialized in books on animals and pets.
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