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Jan 30, 2020

Day Four of Lev Dermen’s Fraud Case

An article today in the Salt Lake Tribute directly links Minister John Saldivar to bribes from Lev Dermen and former business partner Jacob Kingston.  The allegation is made by Kingston, who is expected to present text messages as exhibits between him and Saldivar, in the course of the trial in Utah.  But the minister, who is making a bid for the leadership of the U.D.P. on February ninth, continues to deny the allegation.  Dermen is on trial for ten charges relating to laundering a billion dollar bio-fuel fraud at Washakie Renewable Energy.  The case started on Monday and will continue for another five weeks. Here is News Five’s Isani Cayetano.


Lev Dermen

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Fifty-three-year-old Lev Dermen appeared before U.S. District Court Judge Jill Parrish today before whom he is facing a hundred and eighty years in prison should he be convicted of charges following his indictment.  Earlier this week, twelve jurors and four alternates were selected to give a verdict on a legal case involving the defrauding of the U.S. government in a biofuel scheme that reportedly netted over a billion dollars for Dermen and his co-conspirators, siblings Jacob and Isaiah Kingston.  According to federal prosecutor Leslie Goemaat, the incarcerated businessman did not affix his name or the names of any of his companies on the fraudulent biofuel applications that were submitted to the U.S. government for tax credit.  However, when he met Jacob Kingston, CEO of Washakie Renewable Energy, the ruse is said to have skyrocketed from forty-two million to one point one billion dollars in false claims.

In court, Goemaat went on to argue that Dermen, born Levon Termendzhyan in Armenia, offered Kingston the protection of “his umbrella of law enforcement” which, he says, had been protecting him from prosecution his whole life.  Dermen is said to have enjoyed the safety of a team of bodyguards, socialized with members of law enforcement and presented himself as being well connected with government officials.  Those government officials presumably include Minister of National Security John Saldivar whose name appears in an evidence list provided by Kingston who is set to take the stand against Dermen in the days ahead.  In a story published by the Salt Lake Tribune earlier today, reporter Nate Carlisle wrote that Kingston will testify that both himself and Dermen bribed Saldivar and that according to documents released prior to the trial, as well as a discussion with lawyers on January thirteenth, that Dermen made cash payments to Saldivar and that he, Kingston, later assumed those payments.

Dermen, who is represented by well-known attorney Mark Geragos, received seventy-two million dollars that were funneled to six of his companies.  This is based on monies that the Internal Revenue Service was able to trace.  Geragos, in his arguments, put forward that the evidence points to Kingston as the mastermind.  As far as their connection to Saldivar, the U.D.P. minister has denied receiving any monies from the pair and said in a recent post he said he does not have a corrupt bone in his body.

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