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Jan 28, 2020

Lev Dermen, Washakie and the Belize Connection

Lev Dermen

Jury selection continued today in the District Court in Utah, where Lev Dermen is facing up to ten charges relating to money laundering in a case brought against him by the U.S. for defrauding the Internal Revenue Service of five hundred and eleven million dollars.  The prosecution has worked out a plea deal with one of Dermen’s business partners, Jacob Kingston, who will connect Dermen to Belize government officials, who he claims, received monthly cash transfers in bribery. The trial is expected to last six weeks. Aside from Kingston, the line-up of witnesses includes Zubair Kazi.  He obtained a Belizean passport on July eighth, 2013, which, according to the Audit on Immigration, was picked up by former Minister Elvin Penner.  Kazi and Dermen were both granted nationality in 2013.  Here is Isani Cayetano with a report.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

There is additional information unearthed on Washakie Renewable Energy to report on tonight.  The principals of the biofuel company, siblings Jacob and Isaiah Kingston, as well as Armenian/American businessman Lev Dermen, stand accused of defrauding the U.S. government of over five hundred million dollars which was laundered into upmarket properties, expensive vehicles and other businesses in Turkey.  In sorting through previous media reports dating back to April 2016, we have found that Washakie Renewable Energy endowed the University of Utah with a little over two hundred and eighteen thousand dollars over a five-year period.  Those funds were invested into the U.’s College of Engineering where Jacob Kingston received all three of his degrees.

What is interesting, however, is that the company also doled out a hundred thousand dollars for research, as well as a feasibility study for wind and solar power generation on Paradise Shrimp Farm.  That business, located along the Coastal Road, is the registered concern of Zubair Kazi, otherwise known as Mohamed Atheef, who is said to have been an associate of Lev Dermen.  As of December sixteenth, 2013 Paradise Shrimp Farm was listed as an eligible participant by the Public Utilities Commission, following a request for proposal in electricity generation.  Of note, it is the same year during which Dermen’s financial dealings in Belize were at a peak.

In a sheaf of documents obtained by News Five last week, as well as an exhibit list proffered to the U.S. District Court of Utah, Kazi’s name appears as many as seven times, including a complaint against Washakie Renewable Energy that was lodged on August fourteenth, 2015.  It is expected that Kazi will testify against Lev Dermen in the days ahead, detailing the money laundering scheme that the incarcerated businessman was allegedly involved with.  On Wednesday at one p.m., Utah time, opening statements are scheduled to be heard, followed by the first witness to be called on Thursday.

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