Since former Vice President Joe Biden jumped into the 2020 primary, he has been under intense scrutiny. Amid an impeachment inquiry against President Trump, the spotlight has once again found Biden and this time, his son, Hunter Biden, is joining him.
Hunter Biden, who has gained recognition in recent weeks for his arrangement with the Ukrainian holding company Burisma, has a history of doing shady work with foreign governments through his consulting company, Rosemont Seneca. As reporting continues to develop with regards to Hunter, here are five things to keep in mind.
1) Hunter Biden Is A Founder Of Rosemont Seneca, A Consulting Company
In September 2008, Hunter launched a boutique consulting firm, Seneca Global Advisors. According to reports, during pitch meetings Hunter would tell prospective clients that he could help small and mid-sized companies expand globally and in the United States.
In 2009, five months after Joe Biden became vice president, Hunter teamed up with John Kerry’s stepson, Christopher Heinz, and Devon Archer, another Kerry family friend, to form the consulting firm Rosemont Seneca.
2) While Hunter Biden Was Working On A Business Deal With Chinese Bankers, Joe Biden Was Interacting With The Chinese Government
According to Peter Schweizer’s book, “Secret Empires: How The American Political Class Hides Corruption And Enriches Family And Friends,” less than a year after opening Rosemont Seneca, Hunter and Archer secured high level meetings with top Chinese executives from their sovereign wealth fund, social security fund, and largest banks. Coincidentally, Hunter’s April 2010 meeting in China took place just hours before Vice President Biden met with Chinese President Hu in Washington as part of a Nuclear Security Summit.
Between 2010 and 2013, Rosemont Seneca principals met with Chinese financial moguls and government officials on at least two more occasions. In May 2011, two weeks after Vice President Biden opened up the US-China Strategic Dialogue, Hunter met with Chinese financial moguls in Taiwan. In early December 2013, Hunter travelled with his father on a trip to Asia that coincided with a deal Rosemont Seneca was striking with the state-owned Bank of China. Ten days after the Biden’s trip, Rosemont Seneca and the Bank of China signed a $1 billion private equity deal to create Bohai Harvest RST Investment Fund (BHR).
3) Hunter Biden’s Consulting Company Had A Sweetheart Deal With The Bank Of China
Once formed, BHR was able to take advantage of a special governmental arrangement to raise money for the fund. Unlike other Chinese investment funds, Rosemont Seneca was able to operate from the Shanghai Free-Trade Zone. This allowed them to take Chinese government funds and invest them in the country or take them out of the country to invest in the United States or elsewhere. According to Schweizer, “No one else had such an arrangement in China.”
4) Hunter Biden Worked For A Ukrainian Holdings Company That Was Under Investigation
In April 2014, Hunter joined the board of Burisma Holdings. At the time, Alan Apter, a former chairman of Burisma, said Hunter’s primary duty was to attend board meetings and energy forums in Europe once or twice a year, for which he was paid $50,000 per month. According to The New York Times, from mid-April 2014 until the end of 2015, Burisma Holdings paid Rosemont Seneca Bohai LLC $3.4 million.
Around the time that Hunter joined the Burisma Board, the company came under investigation following allegations that the company’s owner, Mykola Zlochevsky, had used the company to engage in money laundering. In April 2014, the UK froze a London bank account that allegedly belonged To Zlochevsky. Burmisa was also blocked from accessing the funds, which t0taled $23 million. U.S. officials were aware of the probe into Burisma and in December 2014 sent a letter to Ukrainian prosecutors warning them of consequences if they did not assist with the U.K. probe.
In February 2015, Ukraine launched its own investigation into Burisma, putting Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin in charge of the probe. Through 2015, however, Shokin took no action to investigate Burisma Holdings, according to his deputy at the time, Vitaliy Kasko. Due to his perceived inaction, U.S. and U.K. officials began calling for an investigation into the Ukranian prosecutors.
In March 2016, Vice President Joe Biden threatened to withhold $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees if Ukrainian leaders did not dismiss Shokin. Shortly after Biden made the threats, Shokin was fired by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.
Burisma claimed Ukrainian prosecutors had closed all legal and criminal proceedings against the company in October 2017. However, In March 2019, Ukraine’s current prosecutor general reopened the investigation. Hunter Biden left the board of Burisma in April 2019.
5) After Hunter Joined Burisma, His Business Partner Divested From Their Company
Although the Obama Administration has insisted that Hunter’s role at Burisma had no effect on his father’s policies in Ukraine, they have acknowledged that he should not have taken the board seat. A former senior White House aide told The New Yorker that Hunter should have recognized that at least some of his foreign business partners were motivated to work with him because they wanted “to be able to say that they are affiliated with Biden.”
One of Hunter’s business partners seemed to agree. Recently obtained correspondence by The Washington Examiner shows that hours after Biden’s board appointment went public in 2014, Hunter’s business partner Christopher Heinz emailed two top aides at the State Department expressing surprise about the announcement. Heinz wrote, “Apparently Devon and Hunter both joined the board of Burisma and a press release went out today. I can’t speak why they decided to, but there was no investment by our firm in their company.”
Heinz’s spokesperson told the Washington Examiner that he was not involved in the Burisma deal and has not been invested in Rosemont Seneca Partners since 2015.