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Jan 15, 2020

PM Addresses the Lev Dermen Debacle and his Administration

Lev Dermen

Accused Armenian/American fraudster Lev Dermen is sitting in a prison cell in Utah for having allegedly participated in defrauding the United States government of over half a billion dollars.  His tentacles as a businessman, however, extend well beyond Washakie Renewable Energy in Plymouth.  His international dealings reportedly go as far as Turkey, Russia and Belize.  A former business partner, Jacob Kingston, is alleging that Dermen had been paying a Belize Government minister as much as twenty-five thousand U.S. dollars on a monthly basis and had sought to become honorary consul to the State of Nevada.  While that application was later rejected by the U.S government, tonight Prime Minister Dean Barrow is doing damage control from what is clearly another black-eye for his administration with less than a month before the party’s convention. This afternoon, he held a long press conference to outline what he knows about Dermen, the pending trial in Utah and the purported involvement of his cabinet ministers.  In the press conference where he was the sole speaker, PM Barrow described the actions taken in cabinet on Tuesday.


Dean Barrow

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“Let me tell you right now, this Mr. Lev never ever obtained any kind of Belizean diplomatic status, and I will say more on that later.  The evidence, as described in the documents, or another bit of the evidence that is said or that the prosecutor says he wishes to lead talks about Mr. Lev having paid a Belizean government minister twenty-five thousand U.S. dollars a month.  I don’t think it says for how long these alleged payments continued and it doesn’t say what the payments are for.  I suppose you can go back and make the connection with the allegation that Mr. Lev wanted Belizean diplomatic status, but I see no expressed connection made between the twenty-five thousand dollars monthly that it is suggested was paid to a Belizean official and this desire that Mr. Lev obviously had for Belizean diplomatic status.  And then another but of the evidence talks about a second Belizean official, I think in terms of the twenty-five thousand dollars per month.  The material may specifically talk about a Belizean government minister. What I have done is this, because, while no names are called, the finger has been pointed squarely at two officials of this government.  What I did was yesterday in our Cabinet meeting, I required each Cabinet member to say whether he or she could have any reason to believe that he or she would be the person or that they would be the persons to which the material is referring.  Let me put it another way, did anyone in this room, talking about the Cabinet room yesterday, receive twenty-five thousand U.S. dollars per month over a period of time from this Mr. Lev or Mr., what’s the name of the associate, Mr. Kingston or some third person that at one time Mr. Kingston said was used as an intermediary?  And the answer came back, “No.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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