The trial of Lev Dermen began with jury selection yesterday in Salt Lake City, Utah..
Dermen is facing a 10-count indictment in connection with defrauding the United States Government out of $511million. He is facing one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and eight counts of money laundering. He faces up to 180 years in prison, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.
Dermen, 54, is a naturalized American businessman, with ties to Turkey and has Belizean nationality that he obtained under questionable circumstances, according to the Auditor General Special Audit of the Immigration and Nationality Department for the period 2011-2013.
The Salt Lake Tribune also reported that: “Journalists from Turkey are coming to Salt Lake City to hear how money may have been laundered into that country’s pharmaceutical industry. Reporters from Belize are monitoring the trial to hear how an official there might have been bribed.”
The name of John Saldivar, Minister o f National Security appeared in court papers concerning the case.
Four member of the Kingston family have already entered plea deal with prosecutors. Jacob Kingston is expected to testify about text messages he exchanged with Saldivar on Lermen’s behalf.
The Kingston family operated the Washakie Renewable Energy, a bio-fuel plant that was used to defraud the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
We will keep following this story to keep you updated.
(Photo courtesy U.S. District Court for the District of Utah) Lev Dermen, left, stands with Jacob Kingston at Dermen’s home or business in Southern California circa 2013. Federal prosecutors say this photo is evidence of how Kingston purchased the 2010 Bugatti Veyron, left, for $1.72 million to give Dermen, and Dermen purchased the Ferrari, right, to give to Kingston to launder money from a biofuel fraud. Kingston has pleaded guilty to crimes. Dermen has pleaded not guilty. Behind the men is a sculpture of a lion’s head, the animal Dermen associates himself with.