For years now controversy has surrounded the business dealings of Hunter Biden, Joe Biden’s son. At a minimum, there has been the appearance of gross impropriety in the way Hunter appears to have capitalized on his father’s position when Joe served first as a U.S. Senator and then as Barack Obama’s Vice-President. It may be, however, that we have not yet grasped the true import of the facts available and that the reality of what transpired was far greater and more dangerous than we have understood.
In 2006 Hunter Biden and his uncle James Biden purchased the hedge fund Paradigm Global Advisors. According to news reports, James Biden told employees on his first day, “Don’t worry about investors. We’ve got people all around the world who want to invest in Joe Biden…We’ve got investors lined up in a line of 747s filled with cash ready to invest in this company.” Joe Biden was at the time about to be named chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and was beginning his second run for the White House.
At a minimum, these comments demonstrate a clear intent on the part of the Biden family to cash in on Joe’s rising star. They were selling access and expecting to charge top dollar.
In August 2008 Barack Obama announced that Joe Biden would be his running mate. In September Hunter Biden founded Seneca Global Advisors, “a boutique consulting firm” that claimed it would help “small and mid-sized companies expand into markets in the U.S. and other countries.” A few months later Joe Biden was sworn in as vice president of the United States.
In June 2009 Hunter Biden co-founded another company, Rosemont Seneca Partners, with Christopher Heinz, John Kerry’s stepson, and Devon Archer. Less than a year after opening Rosemont Seneca, Hunter Biden and Devon Archer were in China having meetings with top-level Chinese executives and government officials. Collectively, the Chinese with whom Hunter and Devon met represented trillions of dollars in investment capital.
In December 2013 Hunter Biden flew to China with his father on Air Force Two on a trip where his father met with Chinese president Xi Jinping. Less than two weeks later Rosemont Seneca signed a $1 billion private equity deal with a subsidiary of the Chinese government’s Bank of China. The amount invested by the Chinese was later upped to $1.5 billion.
The Chinese government was now in business with the son of a sitting vice president. One of the companies the Chinese would form in their partnership with Hunter Biden was the China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN). In 2017, Szuhsiung Ho, a consultant employed by CGN was charged by the U.S. Department of Justice with “assisting CGN in procuring U.S.-based nuclear engineers to assist with designing and manufacturing certain components for nuclear reactors.” Ho was a Chinese spy stealing nuclear secrets. He ultimately pled guilty, paid a fine of $20,000, and was sentenced to two years in prison.
In April 2014 Hunter Biden joined the board of Burisma Holdings. Burisma, a larger Ukrainian natural gas company, was under investigation in Ukraine for corruption. Biden’s primary duty was to attend board meetings and energy forums in Europe once or twice a year. For this, he was paid $50,000 a month.
Subsequently, Vice-President Joe Biden flew to Ukraine and demanded that the prosecutor investigating Burisma be fired. He threatened to withhold American aid if the Ukrainians did not comply. The prosecutor was fired.
In 2019 investigative reporter John Solomon would quote the fired prosecutor, Victor Shokin as saying, that at the time he was fired he was leading a wide-ranging corruption probe into Burisma Holdings, and that his plans included “interrogations and other crime-investigation procedures into all members of the executive board, including Hunter Biden.”
Also in 2014, Hunter Biden received millions of dollars in wire transfers from Elena Baturina, the wife of the former mayor of Moscow. Baturina is generally considered to be the richest woman in Russia. The payments were routed through Rosemont Seneca and were made pursuant to a “consultancy agreement” Rosemont Seneca had entered into with Baturina. The services Rosemont Seneca agreed to provide per this agreement are unknown.
The payment from Baturina coincided suspiciously with a number of high profile events and actions by the Russian government. Only days after the payment was made Ukraine’s pro-Moscow government was overthrown by protesters. The ongoing unrest in Ukraine greatly concerned Putin, and the Kremlin was intensely focused on what the American reaction might be and whether Washington would intervene on behalf of the pro-democracy forces in the street.
Only two weeks after the “consultancy” payment was made the Russians invaded the Crimea and seized that territory from Ukraine. Again, there was intense interest by the Russians in how the Obama Administration would or would not respond.
It is important to note that the events detailed above are mere samples of Hunter Biden’s “business” activity during the time his father was in office. Secret Service records that Hunter took 411 trips aboard official U.S. aircraft and visited 29 countries while his father was Vice-President. He visited China five times.
The recent Senate Republican report on Hunter Biden characterized the situation as follows.
“…Hunter Biden received millions of dollars from foreign sources as a result of business relationships that he built during the period when his father was vice president of the United States and after. These foreign nationals have questionable backgrounds that have been identified as being consistent with a range of criminal activities, including but not limited to organized prostitution and/or human trafficking, money laundering, fraud, and embezzlement.”
The stench of corruption, is, in short, overwhelming. At a minimum, Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, cashed in on his father’s position and lined his pockets. Leaving the matter there, though, begs at least two critical questions.
First, what were these “investors” getting for their money? It is one thing to promise access, but relatively quickly you either deliver and show you can make things happen or future “investors” walk away. In this case, people and governments from across the globe continued to flood in. That suggests strongly, as in the case of Joe’s trip to Ukraine, that Hunter was able to deliver.
Second, if Hunter was in this on his own and Joe really did not have a part to play, then why was there no reaction from the Vice-President? When CGN, a company created by Hunter, was caught stealing U.S. nuclear technology why didn’t Joe bring down the hammer and make clear his displeasure? If Joe wasn’t benefiting why did he stand by and watch his son openly and transparently benefit from the sale of access and influence? If Joe was not part of this why was Hunter using U.S. government aircraft to jet around the globe raking in millions?
That Hunter is corrupt is clear. Stopping the inquiry there, though, may be premature. Who was Hunter collecting all that cash for? Was it staying in his pockets, or was it going somewhere else? Was Hunter the mastermind or was he just the bag man?