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Feb 4, 2020

The Latest on Lev Dermen and Miami Meetings involving “Ex President of Belize”

Lev Dermen

News Five’s Hipolito Novelo is in Salt Lake City, Utah covering the trial of accused fraudster Lev Dermen.  It’s a huge tax fraud case involving over a billion dollars, involving money laundering and extends to Belize. That’s because Dermen is said to have met and associated with several politicians including sitting U.D.P. cabinet ministers.  One of those ministers is John Saldivar, who confirmed that he met Dermen in 2013 and last saw him in 2015.  Dermen’s influence had reportedly penetrated Barrow’s cabinet as Jacob Kingston, owner of Washakie Renewable Source, says that monies were paid to a government minister.  Kingston says this can be proven through text messages shared between him and the minister.  The proposed court exhibit states that the minister is allegedly Saldivar, who has rejected any suggestion of his involvement in any act of fraud or bribery with Dermen.  Saldivar says that at no time has he used his office for any such vile quid pro quo activities. Kingston was scheduled to testify today, but his testimony was delayed.  Hipolito Novelo has the latest from Salt Lake City.


Hipolito Novelo

Hipolito Novelo, Reporting

Here in Salt Lake City, the trial against fifty three year old Armenian businessman Lev Aslan Dermen continued in the U.S. District Court of Utah before a federal judge. Inside the courtroom today, dressed in suit and tie Dermen seemed relaxed while his L.A. attorney Mark Geragos made several objections and filed several motions to strike out specific statements by witnesses.

During the prosecution’s quest to establish several connections, I listened keenly to any mention of Belize. During Monday’s trial broker Greg Perin mentioned Belize after he was questioned about several meetings and instances that he met Lev Dermen. Perin briefly mentioned a trip to Belize in 2013 but that statement was struck out of the record after Geragos objected due to speculation. We do know that Dermen is a holder of Belizean nationality which he obtained in September 2013.

In court today, during the revision of a deposition, Belize was mentioned once again. The witness spoke of a meeting in which Lev Dermen had happened in Miami, Florida where Dermen’s guest had dinner at a Russian restaurant and went to Nikkie Beach for drinks. The witness said that the group included about twenty persons including the “ex president of Belize” was present. No name was mentioned and the prosecution continued with its line of questioning.

Dermen is charged with ten counts of fraud including money laundering and mail fraud. Dermen who owns Noil Energy is accused of devising an intricate plan with Jacob Kingston and others to buy and sell biodiesel through Washakie Renewable Energy which is owned by the Kingston Brothers. The purpose for this plan was to claim renewable tax credits which they did to the tune of more than five hundred million U.S. dollars.

Now why is this all important to Belize? Well that’s because Dermen’s tentacles penetrated the government and has the Barrow Administration on its toes.  One of the key witnesses Jacob Kingston is yet to testify and he is expected to reveal the context of the text messages shared between himself and allegedly John Saldivar who has denied any allegations of receiving bribes from Kingston, Dermen or any of Dermen’s associates. Reporting from Salt Lake City, Utah, Hipolito Novelo News Five.


The trial was adjourned to Wednesday.

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