The Wild Hunt
Hunter Biden’s plea deal touches only the tip of the iceberg.
About two years ago during a debate with Donald Trump, Joe Biden dismissed stories about his son's laptop emails as disinformation. After becoming president, Joe said that his son Hunter was innocent. Most recently, even after Hunter pleaded guilty to tax evasion and weapons charges, the president said that he was proud of his son.
Which part are you proud of, Joe? The video evidence of his crack use? The video evidence of his cavorting with prostitutes? The tax evasion charges? Or was it the weapons charge, where Hunter lied to obtain a handgun?
Joking aside, the easy-sleazy plea deal Hunter accepted, which has him serve probation in lieu of jail time, leaves several important questions about exactly what Hunter (and Joe, and Jim, Joe’s brother) were doing in return for millions of dollars in consulting fees. Tax evasion seems to be just the beginning. Let’s get specific. Most of the incidents below are drawn from Hunter's email and laptop documents. (The American Conservative published a dive into the laptop’s contents online in December 2020, and a deeper dive in our print edition.)
The reason we have to ask all these sticky questions is because half of Americans—including a third of Democrats—think Hunter got favorable treatment from federal prosecutors after he agreed to a sweetheart plea deal.
So, Hunter, you joined the Burisma board at a salary of $83,000 a month. You had no obvious work duties. What was your actual job at Burisma? We ask because on April 16, 2014, while Papa Joe was vice president, he met with your business partner, Devon Archer, at the White House. Three days later, Joe traveled to Ukraine to lobby for increased fracking. Burisma was one of the few companies licensed to frack in Ukraine. Burisma made hundreds of millions of dollars from Ukraine’s new policy. Burisma paid more than $4 million for your and Archer’s board memberships. You never registered as a foreign agent.
While you and Archer were serving on Burisma’s board, Ukraine’s top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, was investigating Burisma and its owner. In his official position as vice president, Biden demanded that Ukraine fire Shokin, and threatened to withdraw $1 billion in U.S. military aid if it did not do so. Shokin was fired.
While serving on the Burisma board, you and Archer sought meetings with senior State Department officials, including then-Secretary of State John Kerry and then-Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Did you guys get to chat? The reason we ask is because whatever your job description read, your value to Burisma was your perceived access to the executive branch. Papa Joe was at least a passive participant in the scheme, maybe more than that.
Your laptop shows that you used front entities to take money from foreign firms and then moved that money to American institutions, from which the funds were parceled out to other persons and entities, including Joe’s brother Jim. Some of it then went back to foreign hands. This is dirty stuff. Enormous transfers to LLCs without employees, residences used as business addresses, institutions registered in Cyprus and the British Virgin Islands. Can you explain why your fees traveled such circuitous routes? What did you pay Uncle Jim for, and why did he appear to kick back some of the money you paid him?
What is this money all about, Hunter? In 2014, you received a $3.5 million wire transfer from Elena Baturina, the richest woman in Russia and the widow of Yury Luzhkov, the former mayor of Moscow. Baturina became Russia’s only female billionaire when her company received a series of Moscow municipal contracts while her husband was mayor.
But let’s move on to China; Russia and Ukraine are so depressing. The majority of the contents of your laptop are a jumbled record of your international business ventures. Sticking out from this farrago of irregularity is a large number of wire transfers to and from your clients. (But no evidence of what "work" you performed for those clients.) The addresses that can be traced lead to what look to be mostly employee-free anonymous shell companies run out of lawyers’ offices.
In August 2018 you also returned $100k back to CEFC in China via its own New York subsidiary LLC, Hudson West V, whose listed address was on Foxwood Road in New York state. That address is not a business office but instead a residence worth over $5 million. It looks like the place has new owners, but phone records seem to suggest two people lived there when you were in business, including Gongwen Dong.
These complicated transfers look an awful lot like money-laundering. Is that what you were really up to, fee-for-service to the Chinese? Inquiring minds and all that, you know.
The Foxwood address also appears on millions of dollars worth of bank transfers among Cathay Bank, CEFC, and multiple semi-anonymous LLCs and hedge funds. One single transfer alone to Hudson West III on August 8, 2017 moved $5 million from Northern Capital International, apparently a Chinese government-owned import-export front company. What was that all about?
In addition, the house on Foxwood was the mailing address for a secured VISA card in the name of your company, Hudson West III. The card is funded anonymously through Cathay Bank for $99,000 and is attached to a Cathay checking account worth $450,000. Shared users of the card are you, Hunter, and Gongwen Dong. The card was opened as CEFC secured a stake in a Russian state-owned energy company. You and others subsequently used the credit card to purchase luxury goods. A Senate report identified these transactions as “potential financial criminal activity.”
Jim Biden was also an authorized user of the credit card. When he ran into financial trouble, he was bailed out with loans from the rest of the family, including from you, Hunter. Jim also received a loan of $500,000 from John Hynansky, a Ukrainian-American businessman and long-time Biden campaign donor. This occurred at the same time that the then-vice president oversaw American Ukraine policy.
Where does all this leave us? With President Joe Biden, who ran in part on an anti-corruption “normality” platform. Biden says he regrets meeting with the Burisma official. It’s always easier to apologize than to seek permission. Is that what your dad always says, Hunter?
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Do we even need to address the infamous 2017 email detailing a prospective venture with an explicit set-aside for the “big guy,” publicly identified as Joe Biden by Hunter’s former partner Tony Bobulinski?
There is a lot more, but you get the picture. It looks like a lot of impropriety from your dad. In corrupt stews like China and Ukraine, the sons of powerful men have and trade on access to their fathers. Is that where you picked up the idea?
Joe Biden said of Hunter, “I have never spoken to my son about his overseas business dealings.” So Hunter, help us out. Explain.