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Feb 3, 2020

Fraud Case Against Lev Dermen Continues, News Five Reporter in Salt Lake City

Reporter Hipolito Novelo is currently in snowy Salt Lake, Utah, where the case of Lev Dermen is taking place. The sitting was postponed this morning and resumed in the afternoon. As you know, Dermen is accused in a billion-dollar tax fraud and his business partner Jacob Kingston has made allegations linking Minister John Saldivar to Dermen.  Here is Hipolito Novelo.


Hipolito Novelo

Hipolito Novelo

The trial of Lev Dermen continued today in the U.S. District Court of Utah. This morning’s session was canceled because of the snow storm, but it resumed this afternoon. And the prosecution called one of the witnesses, Greg Perin, a broker, he acted sort of like a linkage between Lev Dermen—according to the prosecution—and other key players such as the Kingston brothers and several companies involved in this multimillion dollar scheme. Belize was mentioned once in this afternoon’s session and that was when the prosecution was trying to establish what sort of meetings or how many meetings Lev Dermen had with Mister Kingston and the witness, Mister Perin and if they traveled together, if they held parties together, if they had lunch together, if they had dined together. And one of the things that the witnessed said is that they took international trips. They asked where; he said Belize, but he wasn’t so sure about the destination. So the defence attorney objected to that as speculation and moved a motion to have that statement struck out of the record and the judge complied with it. So even though the witnessed believed that the international trip that Lev Dermen and Jacob took was to Belize that is not on the record because of the motion to have that struck off the record. We do know that in 2013, it was the same period they were speaking about, is when Dermen received his Belizean nationality and that came out in the Auditor General’s report and there is no nationality file found for him. Now that was the only context Belize was mentioned today. Tomorrow, Jacob Kingston, who alleges that he exchanged text messages with Minister of National Security John Saldivar, is scheduled to testify on Tuesday and on Wednesday. We are not sure what exactly he will say, we are not sure what the questioning of the prosecution will be, but we are hoping that the context of those text messages will be revealed. Just to put it out there, remember if it is WhatsApp messages, it is encrypted and these individuals involved in this alleged scam, spoke code words. So even though it is alleged that a government minister received bribes, about twenty-five thousand dollars monthly, we are not sure if the text messages will be direct. They would be using code message. But we will see what comes out of court on Tuesday and Wednesday with the testimony of Jacob Kingston. I will be in court the entire day on Tuesday and Wednesday and I will be keeping our viewers updates on Facebook and of course during the nightly news. My name is Hipolito Novelo reporting from Salt Lake City, Utah for Channel Five News.

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