The trial of the fraud case Kingston v United States in which the businessman Lev Dermen is a co-defendant is expected to continue on Monday, January 27, after it was adjourned to give prosecutors time to pour over new evidence they are planning to lead. Dermen pleaded not guilty to fraud and other charges in the state of Utah.
Dermen’s co-defendants are four members of the polygamous Kingston family, who have already pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing. They could be sentenced to as much as 30 years in a federal prison. In addition, in their plea deal, the state will acquire the Kingston’s bio-fuel company which was used to perpetuate the fraud.
Prosecutors in the $511 million fraud case are expected to lead evidence from Jacob Kingston which will identify Dermen’s connection with Belize Minister of National Security, John Saldivar.
In a press release issued by Saldivar last week, he vehemently denied that he was involved in any quid pro quo activity with Dermen.
“At no time did I use my office for any such vile quid pro quo activities as the political propagandists suggests. Any such suggestion is obviously motivated by political actors who are intent on seekng to gain political mileage for the imminent elections,” said Saldivar in his press release last week..
Prime Minister Barrow, at his press conferenceon the subject has promised to deal swiftly with any of his ministers who are proved to be involved in the bribery allegation.
Dermen purportedly was paying a Belize government official US$25,000 per month and Jacob Kingston is expected to identify text messages between himself and Minister Saldivar. Kingson had alleged that on one occasion he provided the money to t a Belize official t upon Dermen’s instruction.
To date, there has been no official comment on how Lev Dermen obtained his Belizean nationality certificate. There is no official file at the Immigration and Nationality Department, the Auditor General said in her 2011-2013 report on the Nationality Department.
More on this in tomorrow’s edition of the newspaper