Posted: Tuesday, January 14, 2020. 11:48 am CST.
By BBN Staff: Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), H.E. Pat Andrews says that the ministry is watching, with concern, the reports of Belizean ministers being mentioned in a high-profile fraud case in the United States.
Andrews said today that the Ministry has not been briefed by US authorities on the matter, but the ministry has taken note of the local news coverage. Andrews also stressed that none of the allegations have been confirmed, which does bring some solace to the situation.
Businessmen, Isaiah Kingston, Jacob Kingston, and Lev Dermen have been charged in US courts for money laundering and fraud in connection to an alleged bio-fuel fraud scheme valued at over $500 million in renewable fuel tax credits. Jacob and Isaiah Kingston pled guilty to the charges, while Dermen had been in prison since 2018, and was seeking pre-trial release which was later denied due to business interests he had outside of the US.
Jacob Kingston later took a plea deal and cooperated with US authorities in an attempt to gain a lighter sentence. In his testimony, he said that Dermen routinely paid a GOB official $25,000 іn саѕh. Kingston went on to say that when Dermen could not make the payment, he paid the money on Dermen’s behalf and on one occasion even arranged payment to the Belizean official to be made by an associate. His testimony also says that a separate Belizean official also received payment on another occasion.
To date, the names of those Belizean officials have been withheld.
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