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Sep 04 2018

Fuel execs accused of  $511 million scheme detained in U.S. as they headed for Turkey

Two of three U.S. businessmen who are accused of masterminding a $511 million tax credit scheme were detained in the U.S. as they prepared to depart for Turkey while the third successfully made his way into the country, pro-government CNN Türk news reported.

Jacob Kingston, Isaiah Kingston, and Lev Aslan Dermen (aka Levon Termendzhyan), owner of California-based fuel company NOIL Energy Group, allegedly schemed to file false claims for renewable fuel tax credits,  causing the IRS to issue over $511 million to Utah-based Washakie Renewable Energy (WRE).  Jacob Kingston is separately charged with filing nine false claims for refund on behalf of WRE in 2013, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

If convicted, the three defendants each face a maximum of 10 years in prison for each money laundering count while Jacob Kingston faces a maximum of 3 years in prison for each false tax return count.

The Kingston brothers were detained in Los Angeles as they prepared to board a private plane, CNN Türk reported, while noting that Dermen, who purchased a large estate in Turkey, is now looking to add a hotel valued at $650 million into his inventory.

Dermen was involved in the financing of the privately-owned Turkish airline Borajet in 2016, according to Turkish media reports.

The Kingston brothers are reported to have close ties to Turkish multimillionaire Sezgin Baran Korkmaz, who has been accused of having business links with another Turkish businessman believed to be under investigation over the hiring of former U.S. National Security Advisor Mike Flynn's company to research Turkey and the Gülenists, whom Ankara holds responsible for the July 2016 coup attempt, pro government Daily Sabah reported.