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Hunter Biden, the son of President Biden, is under federal investigation for potential violations of tax, money laundering and foreign lobbying laws through his business relationships abroad.
The federal investigation into Biden, which began in 2018, is reportedly heating up as prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Delaware seek grand jury testimony concerning the sources of the first son’s foreign income, including from Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma Holdings Ltd., of which Biden served on the board of directors. Prosecutors have also questioned one of Biden’s associates about his drug and alcohol abuse in 2018, the Wall Street Journal reported this week.
Hunter, who has adamantly denied any wrongdoing, hasn’t been charged with a crime related to the investigation so far.
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His foreign business dealings were first reported in a September 2020 report from Senate Republicans but have been gaining traction in recent days as media outlets like The Washington Post and The New York Times come around to authenticating thousands of emails from Biden’s infamous abandoned laptop after initially dismissing the scandal, and the New York Post’s original reporting, in the run-up to the 2020 election.
According to the Senate Republican report released in 2020, Treasury records obtained at the time by Sen. Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, a senior Republican on the Senate Finance and Judiciary committees, showed “potential criminal activity relating to transactions among and between Hunter Biden, his family, and his associates with Ukrainian, Russian, Kazakh and Chinese nationals,” while his father served as vice president in the Obama administration.
Prosecutors are investigating payments from Burisma to Biden through a company called Rosemont Seneca Bohai LLC, the Journal reported Monday. Biden received about $50,000 a month while serving on Burisma’s board from April 2014 to April 2019.
Blue Star Strategies, a consulting firm hired by Burisma, “used Hunter Biden’s name in a request for a State Department meeting in early 2016 and then mentioned him again during the meeting as part of an effort to improve Burisma’s image in Washington,” the Journal reported.
As a result, prosecutors are trying to determine whether Biden or Blue Star Strategies should have registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) for those contacts, which requires disclosure to the Justice Department of lobbying or public relations assistance on behalf of foreign clients, the Times reported.
In 2019, then-President Donald Trump held a telephone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy concerning the younger Biden’s Burisma dealings, a conversation that served as the basis for Trump’s first impeachment, of which he was later acquitted.
In October of that same year, Hunter Biden admitted it was “poor judgment” to take the Ukrainian job.
The Post published a lengthy report Wednesday about Hunter Biden’s “multimillion-dollar” financial ties to the Chinese energy company CEFC China Energy.
“Over the course of 14 months, the Chinese energy conglomerate and its executives paid $4.8 million to entities controlled by Hunter Biden and his uncle, according to government records, court documents and newly disclosed bank statements, as well as emails contained on a copy of a laptop hard drive that purportedly once belonged to Hunter Biden,” the Post reported, before writing that it found no evidence that President Biden “personally benefited from or knew details about the transactions with CEFC,” which all took place after he left office as vice president.
“But the new documents — which include a signed copy of a $1 million legal retainer, emails related to the wire transfers, and $3.8 million in consulting fees that are confirmed in new bank records and agreements signed by Hunter Biden — illustrate the ways in which his family profited from relationships built over Joe Biden’s decades in public service,” the Post said.
The Senate Republican report said CEFC’s founder has “extensive” ties to the Chinese Communist government and was also financially connected to President Biden’s brother, James Biden.
“The records acquired by the Committees show consistent, significant and extensive financial connections among and between Hunter Biden, James Biden, Sara Biden, Devon Archer, and Chinese nationals connected to the Communist regime and [People’s Liberation Army] as well as other foreign nationals with questionable backgrounds,” the 2020 report said.
Federal prosecutors are also seeking documents pertaining to a Fisker sports car purchase made by Hunter Biden in 2014 using funds from Rosemont Seneca, sources told the Journal. At the time, a business associate of Biden from Kazakhstan wired $142,300 to Rosemont Seneca, according to claims made in the Senate Republicans’ report that were confirmed by the Journal.
The funds came from a Singapore company controlled by Kazakhstan banker Kenes Rakishev, whose father-in-law was the mayor of the capital city of Astana at the time, and bank records stated the purpose as “For a Car,” the Senate Republican report said.
The wire transaction occurred the same day then-Vice President Biden addressed Ukrainian legislators in Kyiv regarding Russia’s actions in Crimea, the Senate Republican report said.
“Rakishev’s close connection to political leadership in Kazakhstan, the tense political situation, Hunter Biden’s long-standing relationship with Archer and involvement in transactions with Rosemont Seneca Bohai, and the fact that the payment was timed perfectly with Vice President Biden’s visit to Kyiv to discuss U.S. sanctions against Russia for the invasion of Crimea, the April 22, 2014, payment from Rakishev to Rosemont Seneca Bohai raises serious questions,” the 2020 report said. “It is unclear why a foreign company, Novatus Holding, would purchase a $142,300 car for Rosemont Seneca Bohai when the company does not deal in vehicles.”
According to the Senate Republican report, Hunter Biden and his business associate, Devon Archer, a former adviser to Secretary of State John Kerry, had a financial relationship with Elena Baturina, a Russian billionaire who allegedly received illegal construction contracts from her husband, former Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov. The report said Baturina wired $3.5 million to a Rosemont Seneca Thornton LLC bank account in 2014 and an additional $242,000 to the bank account in 2015.
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The report alleged that Biden was a co-founder of the Thornton group, a claim Biden’s lawyer denied in 2020, saying, “Hunter Biden had no interest in and was not a ‘co-founder’ of Rosemont Seneca Thornton, so the claim that he was paid $3.5 million is false.”
Reporting by the Journal, the Post and the Times did not mention whether the Russia allegations in the Senate Republican report were part of the ongoing federal investigation.