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Businessman linked to Castro faces arrest

Cuba has ordered a colourful Chilean businessman with deep personal ties to Fidel Castro to appear before a corruption inquiry or face a warrant for his arrest.

The decree gives Max Marambio until 29 July to appear before investigators looking into possible bribery, embezzlement, falsifying documents, fraud and other charges "in which the Chilean citizen stands accused".

It warns that an arrest warrant will be issued if Mr Marambio fails to show up. This could lead to the forfeiture of his significant holdings in the country.

The summons is the first apparent movement in the case since April, when a top Chilean executive who worked for Mr Marambio was found dead in his Havana apartment after being questioned in the investigation. The cause of his death has not been revealed.

Mr Marambio's office in the Chilean capital, Santiago, said he was out of the country and would return in 15 days. It refused to say where he was, or whether he had travelled to Cuba. Chilean media reported several weeks ago that two lawyers for Mr Marambio were being sent to Havana to represent him in the case.

Mr Marambio met Mr Castro in 1966 while accompanying his father on a trip to Cuba as part of a delegation of sympathetic political leaders. He later became the chief bodyguard of the Chilean Socialist President Salvador Allende.