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Conflict of interest leads CLC chief to quit.

One of the founders of the conservative Cuban Liberty Council resigned from the organization at the urging of the board of directors, after it was disclosed he represents a French firm whose affiliate built luxury hotels in Cuba.

According to a May 30 story in the Spanish-language El Nuevo Herald, CLC leaders asked Ignacio E. Sanchez to quit after the newspaper revealed that he represents Bouygues Travaux Publics, a French company and the state's leading bidder in a $1 billion tunnel project for the Port of Miami.

"We asked him to resign because the council cannot have someone who represents the interests of a company that does business with the Cuban government," the CLC's director, Diego Suarez, told El Nuevo Herald.

Sanchez himself declined to discuss the matter, telling the newspaper "I must not comment on what happens inside the CLC. It would not be proper." He did, however, give the paper a copy of his letter of resignation, saying "the letter speaks for itself."

In April, Bouygues Travaux Publics, or BTP, won a state bid to build the tunnel that will join downtown Miami with the Port of Miami.

Days later, the company's integrity was questioned when Nicolas Gutierrez--a lawyer who specializes in representing Cuban exiles and Cuban-Americans--asked whether the French company did business in Cuba.

In a letter sent to Gutierrez, Sanchez said BTP never did any business with Cuba but conceded that an affiliate may have done so.

"BTP has never conducted any business whatsoever in Cuba," Sanchez explained in a letter to CLC directors. "There is, then, no factual or legal basis for anyone to claim that BTP is undertaking the tunnel project in violation of federal, state or local law."
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Title Annotation:Cuban Liberty Council; Ignacio E. Sanchez
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:5CUBA
Date:Jul 1, 2007
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