Crime brothers who hid millions in Turkey denied bail
Jacob and Isaiah Kingston, two brothers from Utah accused of running a fraud scheme worth over 1 billion dollars through their renewable energy company, have been denied bail by the federal judge overseeing their trial.
U.S. District Court Judge Jill Parrish picked apart and then denied their motions to be released from jail last Friday, Utah daily newspaper the Standard Examiner reported.
Last August the Kingstons were apprehended while trying to board a flight from the United States to Turkey, where they have invested millions of dollars in property and developed links with businessmen close to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Jacob Kingston was photographed meeting the Turkish president in September 2017.
That money, it is alleged, was obtained in a scheme in which the brothers falsified their renewables company, Washakie’s documents to inflate the fuel production figures and filed false tax credit applications worth $1.1 billion, $511 million of which they received.
Over $130 million of this was reportedly wired to a company owned by the brothers’ Turkish associate, Sezgin Baran Korkmaz, between September 2013 and the end of 2015.
Richard Rolwing, the U.S. prosecutor handling the case, told a court last August that witnesses had said the brothers’ money was being used to ensure that they would be protected from extradition in Turkey.
Isaiah Kingston’s lawyer argued that he should be released for health reasons and because he has “no relation to Turkey,” while Jacob Kingston said he had been heading to the country on a family holiday and could not flee to Turkey “because all his money is tied up in businesses.”
“Given that evidence shows Isaiah personally transferred at least $52 million from Washakie’s accounts to Turkey, this suggests a ‘connection to Turkey,’” the Standard Examiner quoted Judge Parrish as saying.
Prosecutors countered Jacob Kingston’s claim by saying it was “indisputable” that Jacob had “wired at least $134 million to accounts in Turkey. They also said he had purchased the plane tickets, which Jacob said were for his son’s honeymoon, three days before the trip.”
In her justification for denying the brothers’ release, Parrish wrote that prosecutors had supplied evidence they had “made false statements to the Southern District of New York in the effort to conceal Washakie’s assets in Turkey, tried to bribe government officials and tried to hire an enforcer to intimidate witnesses.”
An indictment filed in January brought charges against Rachel Ann Kingston, the brothers’ mother, and Jacob Kingston’s wife, Sally Louise Kingston.
Lev Dermen, (a.k.a. Levon Termendzhyan), who was also arrested for involvement in the scheme at around the same time as the brothers and faces similar charges, was also denied his motion to release.