Back in 2014 then-Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, was named to the Board of The Burisma Group, the largest privately-held natural gas company in Ukraine. On April 1, 2019, The Hill reported on an event where Joe Biden bragged over having pressured Ukraine, in March 2016, to fire its chief prosecutor, threatening Ukraine with the $1 billion in loan guarantees that was to be issued by the USA. According to The Hill, the chief prosecutor was indeed fired and replaced in that time frame, and there are folks in Ukraine who verify that indeed Joe Biden pressured Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to fire the prosecutor.
Those two events are not disconnected. Hunter Biden was on the board of The Burisma Group at the time Joe Biden pressured Ukraine to fire its chief prosecutor. AND, more importantly, at that time, Ukraine’s chief prosecutor had planned to launch an investigation into The Burisma Group and Hunter Biden, among other issues.
In my report on Hunter Biden being named to The Burisma Group board, I called this nepotism, or “the practice among those with power or influence of favoring relatives or friends, especially by giving them jobs.”
There of course isn’t any proof (that I know of) that VP Joe Biden somehow wangled things so Hunter Biden would get that job. At the time Hunter Biden was a counsel to Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP, a national law firm based in New York, USA, and that firm has been tied to significant cases of national significance. He is also associated with (founder of) the investment advisory company Rosemont Seneca Partners. He also has an adjunct Professor position at Georgetown Law School, and has served with several internationally scoped foreign policy institutes. In other words, Hunter Biden has a background making him a powerhouse lawyer in his own right.
Again, The Hill reports that Ukraines then-Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin “was leading a wide-ranging corruption probe into the natural gas firm Burisma Holdings that employed Biden’s younger son, Hunter, as a board member.”
The Hill says that from spring 2014 through fall 2015, U.S. banking records show that Rosemont Seneca Partners LLC (this company was founded by Hunter Biden) received monthly payments of $166,000 from Ukraine. During that time frame Vice President Biden was the main USA official dealing with Ukraine and its tense relations with Russia.
Shokin told The Hill that before he was fired plans for the investigation included “interrogations and other crime-investigation procedures into all members of the executive board, including Hunter Biden.”
Work on those investigations stopped abruptly when Shokin was fired, according to The Hill. Other cases were transferred to another organization in Ukraine, which closed those cases.
The Hill says that Ukrainian prosecutors reopened parts of the investigation after the event at which Biden bragged about leaning on Ukraine to fire Shokin. That was a Council on Foreign Relations meeting in January 2018. However it is reported the prosecutors are making little headway, in part due to external pressure.
It’s not necessarily improper for a Board Member of a Ukraine company to be paid for work. According to The Hill: “Lutsenko said Ukrainian company board members legally can pay themselves for work they do if it benefits the company’s bottom line, but prosecutors never got to determine the merits of the payments to Rosemont because of the way the investigation was shut down.”
It’s possible this was all on the up-and-up, and there’s no corruption here. But the case raises some important questions, especially as Joe Biden has started his run for President in the 2020 election.
Reviewing 2013-2014 in Ukraine
It’s worth a little review of what was happening at that time. Fortunately I wrote up some reports back then.
At that time the USA saw an opportunity to change the “energy” supply arrangements for Europe. A report by the Congressional Research Service, Europe’s Energy Security:Options and Challenges toNatural Gas Supply Diversification, that I read back then, discusses the significance of whether Europe is dependent on Russia for natural gas and crude oil. The European Union does not have its own fossil fuel supplies. There are fossil fuel supplies in Norway, which is not an EU member, and in Romania, whose fossil fuel supplies are heavily depleted except for new fields being opened in the Black Sea.
The Congressional Research Service report says it is in the National Interest of the USA for Europe to not be dependent on Russia. “National Interest” is a code phrase saying the USA would be willing to go to war over that issue. The report then goes over all the places bordering Europe where there are fossil fuels, and what would be required for Europe to have access to those supplies. This was before the war that toppled Libyan Dictator Gadaffi, and various other events of the early 2010’s, one of which included the overthrow of Yanukovych’s government in Ukraine in March 2014.
Ukraine has a significant position in regards to natural gas flows into Europe. The pipelines leading from Russia into former Soviet bloc countries pass through Ukraine. The plan was to instead frack in shale fields within Ukraine’s territory, as well as frack in Romania, feeding natural gas into pipelines that head into Europe, cutting off Russia from selling gas through those pipelines.
- Ukraine caught in fracking-fueled tug-of-war between US and Russia, Europe’s natural gas supply at risk
- Europe’s dependency on Russian natural gas mirror’s Ukraine’s effort for liberation from Russia
- VP Biden brings fracking experts to Ukraine in aid package meant for freedom from Russia
An NY Times article from 2015 is also useful context for these events.
Joe Biden and the 2020 Presidential race
Returning to the present moment, it is April 2019 and former-VP Joe Biden is one of the leading contenders in the Democratic Party to be its Presidential candidate against either President Trump or President Pence in 2020. (shuddering at the thought of President Pence)
Biden is already damaged goods given the fact that he is very touchy with women. Meaning there is lots of pictures and videos of Joe Biden being very friendly when meeting women, touching them in ways that may have been tolerated in the 1960’s but are simply unacceptable in the #MeToo era. I really do not understand how Biden thought he could get anywhere in this era. But, he has not only entered the race, but is apparently a front runner.
This issue is even more serious. Did VP Biden twist anything to get Hunter Biden nominated to the Burisma board? This occurred just after the overthrow of the Yanukovych regime, which came just after a massive protest movement that was seemingly engineered by USA top secret political operatives. (e.g. CIA) In the wake of that overthrow, the USA government was heavily involved with propping up the new Ukraine government, assisting with training troops in fighting the civil war in Eastern Ukraine, and more.
Were the payments to Hunter Biden appropriate? What did his firm do for Burisma? Did VP Joe Biden know about the probe at the time he pressured Ukraine to fire its Chief Prosecutor?
Will anybody pay attention to this report?
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