US settles Cuban bill

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A JUDGE in the United States yesterday ordered that more than $6.2m (pounds 3.8m), owed to Cuba by US telephone companies, be paid instead to the families of three Cuban-Americans killed when their planes were shot down by Cuban jets in 1996.

The families of three of the pilots killed in the attack won a judgment of $187m against the Cuban government and the Cuban Air Force in 1997 but had been unable to collect it. Judge James Lawrence King, who made the 1997 judgment, ruled yesterday that the families could seize Cuban assets in the US, including payments owed to Cuba by telephone companies doing business with the island. More than $4.1m should come from AT&T and about $1.05m from MCI International.

Cuba's state telephone company severed most of its links to the US in February because US telephone companies had been withholding paymentspending the court's decision.