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January 14, 2020

Another scandal brewing for Belize?  Belizean Minister reportedly received money linked to US bio-fuel fraud

Posted: Tuesday, January 14, 2020. 11:02 am CST.

By BBN Staff: International media organizations are reporting on an alleged bio-fuel fraud scheme in the United States, costing over $500 million in renewable fuel tax credits.  The reports include court documents alleging bribes paid to senior American officials and a Government minister from Belize.

Businessmen, Isaiah Kingston, Jacob Kingston and Lev Dermen are being charged in US court for money laundering and fraud.

Since 2018, Dermen had been in prison and was seeking pre-trial release but due to his business interests, that was denied.

Jacob and Isaiah Kingston pled guilty to the charges.

According to reports, a testimony given by one of the Kingston brothers revealed that Dermen had offered protection to them by means of US law enforcement.

That testimony also revealed that a government official from Belize was routinely paid $25,000 in cash by Dermen.

When Dermen couldn’t make the payment himself, he asked Kingston to make the cash payment on his behalf.

In one instance in 2014, Kingston arranged for cash payment to the Belizean official via an associate.

But, is another Belizean official involved?

Well, the report also noted that earlier in 2013, Kingston electronically wired funds to a different Belizean government official at Dermen’s request.

In the same document, Kingston’s testimony would be corroborated with text messaged including one with the Belizean official.

Dermen was reportedly seeking a diplomatic appointment in the United States and it was being backed by the government official but that was turned down by US authorities.

More details are expected to emerge as the case goes on, however, speculation in Belize has run rampant about which government officials may yet be revealed to have been involved in the scheme.

 

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