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Senate Republicans released a report Wednesday detailing the extensive business dealings that Hunter Biden pursued with politically connected foreign nationals while his father Joe Biden was serving as vice president.
The 87-page interim report is the product of a months-long probe in which members of the Senate Homeland Security and Finance Committees and their staff reviewed more than 45,000 pages of Obama administration records and interviewed eight witnesses, many of whom are current or former U.S. officials.
“The Treasury records acquired by the Chairmen show potential criminal activity relating to transactions among and between Hunter Biden, his family, and his associates with Ukrainian, Russian, Kazakh and Chinese nationals,” the report reads. “In particular, these documents show that 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.”
That Hunter Biden served on the board of the Ukrainian gas company Burisma Holdings while his father was leading the Obama administration’s efforts in Ukraine is well-established, but the $50,000-per-month board seat was just one component of the younger Biden’s foreign ventures during the Obama years. According to Treasury Department records obtained by the committee, he also pursued business dealings with politically-connected Russian, Chinese, and Kazakh nationals.
In the course of his globe-trotting business career, Hunter Biden racked up more than $4 million in “questionable financial transactions” with well-connected foreigners. He partnered with Chinese businessmen connected to the Chinese Communist Party and the People’s Liberation Army, he took cash from the wife of the corrupt former mayor of Moscow, and he sent funds to Ukrainian and Russian nationals living in the U.S. that are “linked to what ‘appears to be an Eastern European prostitution or human trafficking ring,’” according to the report.
But it was only Hunter’s work for Burisma that caught the attention of Obama administration State Department officials, who said the role created “counterintelligence and extortion concerns.”
Acting Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine, George Kent warned Vice President Joe Biden’s office in early 2015 that Hunter’s work for Burisma undermined the administrations’ anti-corruption efforts in the country, since the gas company’s owner Mykola Zlochevsky, who Kent described as an “odious oligarch” in his testimony, is famously corrupt.
“Furthermore, the presence of Hunter Biden on the Burisma board was very awkward for all U.S. officials pushing an anticorruption agenda in Ukraine,” Kent wrote in an email to his colleagues in 2016.
Kent told Joe Biden’s staff that “someone needed to talk to Hunter Biden, and he should [step] down from the board of Burisma,” according to the report. But it doesn’t appear Kent’s request was carried out, since Hunter remained on the board throughout the rest of Obama’s term.
U.S. Special Envoy and Coordinator for International Energy Affairs Amos Hochstein also raised concerns about Hunter’s work for Burisma with the vice president. But his complaints went unaddressed, according to the report.
“This investigation has illustrated the extent to which officials within the Obama administration ignored the glaring warning signs when the vice president’s son joined the board of a company owned by a corrupt Ukrainian oligarch,” the report’s executive summary stated.
While concerns over Hunter’s business dealings in Ukraine didn’t prompt any decisive action from the administration, they did reach the desk of Secretary of State John Kerry, contradicting his later claim that he was never aware that Hunter served on the Burisma board.
The day after Hunter joined the Burisma board in May 2014, Kerry’s stepson Christopher Heinz, who was a business partner of Hunter’s, emailed his father to inform him of Hunter’s appointment to the board and to distance himself from the decision. Kerry’s staff followed up with a briefing on the press inquiries prompted by Hunter’s board seat, according to their testimony before the committees.
Neither Kerry nor anyone else in the administration appears to have intervened to put a stop to the younger Biden’s influence peddling.
When asked by a reporter in 2019 whether he had any knowledge of Hunter’s work for Burisma, Kerry responded “I had no knowledge about any of that. None. No.”
Hunter Biden and his business partner Devon Archer joined with Heinz in 2009 to form the investment firm Rosemont Seneca. They then spun off a number of shell companies to accept funds from wealthy and politically-connected clients willing to pay for their “corporate and governmental affairs” expertise.