Posted: Thursday, January 16, 2020. 7:32 am CST.
By Aaron Humes: In certain internet forums, one name has already been picked out as being conclusively the first Minister of Government named as having received funding from the accused fraudster Levon Termendzhyan, alias Lev Aslan Dermen, 53.
The two men with the most to lose if their names are revealed before the February 9 United Democratic Party leadership convention as being Minister 1 came forward, like Simon Peter, to deny any relationship with the man now sitting in a Utah jail awaiting trial.
Minister of National Security John Saldivar writes that he first met Dermen publicly in 2013, while accompanying the Belize National Football Team to the CONCACAF Gold Cup (Belize faced Costa Rica that year in a match in Sandy, north of Salt Lake City, Utah.)
He admits they interacted several times publicly, providing no details, and says they last saw each other in 2015. But he explicitly denies any suggestion of involvement in any act of fraud or bribery with Dermen, saying he has not used his office for “vile quid pro quo activities.” Any such suggestion, he claims, is motivated by political actors who are intent on seeking political mileage for the imminent elections, internal and general. He added that Dermen was known to many in Belize as a wealthy businessman, but names no names.
Saldivar accuses a combination of the Opposition and elements in his own party of spreading malicious statements and falsehoods to derail his bid to succeed Dean Barrow but insists he won’t be deterred. He ended by saying that he has instructed his legal counsel to take action against anyone who publishes falsehoods about him.
Rival Patrick Faber’s statement on Facebook was short and to the point. The Deputy Prime Minister, who missed Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting where the matter was discussed while away representing Belize at the inauguration of Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei, states he has had no relationship with Lev Dermen, made no request for him to be made an Ambassador or Honorary Consul, and did not receive any financial contributions of twenty-five thousand dollars per month or even a one-time twenty-five cents contribution from Dermen or any of his associates.
If either man or someone else involved is misleading him, the Prime Minister warned, they would face certain expulsion from Cabinet and possibly from the leadership race.
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