As has been widely reported, in December 2013, 43-year-old Hunter Biden, fresh off of his “administrative” discharge from the U.S. Navy for cocaine abuse, joined his father Joe Biden on a diplomatic trip to China.
And wouldn’t you know it, the Bidens’ trip just happened to occur at the same time as a state trip to Beijing of none other than then-Ukrainian President and Biden ally, Viktor Yanukovych, according to an intelligence report obtained by RedState:
“The trip by HUNTER coincided with an official trip by the Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. Many business deals promoting trade and investment between China and Ukraine were signed during this trip. Some deals between Chinese and Ukrainian firms have ties to firms HUNTER is known to be involved with such as the Bohai Commodity Exchange, owned by the same local governments that own a part of Bohai Industrial Investment.”
Yanukovych was in Beijing seeking funding for the struggling, former-Soviet country, which has faced numerous revolutions and tumults of power during the decades since the fall of the Soviet Union. The major conflict existing in Ukraine is the battle between pro-EU factions against those of Russian-backed groups. Ukraine is on a bit of a yo-yo between the EU and Russian interests, as both sides continue to fight for influence over the turbulent country and its vast resources.
While the report doesn’t specifically mention a meeting between Yanukovych and the Bidens, NBC News confirms the two were in contact both before and after overlapping trips in China. The February 25, 2014, article reports that Biden and Yanukovych spoke frequently over the prior three months, which would include the time they both happened to be in Beijing (along with Hunter):
Two days before he fled Ukraine’s capital, President Viktor Yanukovych huddled on the phone for more than an hour with Vice President Joe Biden, his primary conduit with the U.S. government throughout the political crisis consuming the former Soviet republic.
Biden, who had built a working relationship with Yanukovych since becoming vice president, was at the forefront of the delicate diplomatic maneuvering for the Obama administration. He spoke to Yanukovych on the phone nine times during the three-month political crisis, an unusual level of contact that underscored the heightened U.S. concern about stability in Ukraine, a strategically located nation that shares a border with Russia.
Whether the Bidens and Yanukovych just happened to be in the same place at the same time, or whether there was some schedule coordination, it was an opportunity for Hunter Biden to again leverage his name into a lucrative gig. As the NBC article references, the elder Biden was close with the Ukrainian leader, and an investment group Hunter Biden formed earlier that year (Rosemont Seneca Thornton) had already signed an agreement to partner with Chinese State-Owned Entities (SOE’s). And, while Yanukovych’s time as President was soon coming to an end, Yanukovych’s tentacles of influence within the country’s government and industry reached far and wide. Yanukovych and Hunter Biden were both in a position to help the other.
It is important to note that, according to Secret Service travel records made public by Judicial Watch, Hunter Biden never made a trip to Ukraine prior to landing a position on the board of Burisma. In fact, no record exists of Hunter ever making a trip to Ukraine, ever, before scoring his cushy job.
Connecting the dots between a Beijing meeting between Joe Biden and Yanukovych, and Hunter Biden’s landing on the Burisma board isn’t exactly six-degrees-of-Kevin-Bacon either. Yanukovych’s close friend, the former Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources and at-the-time Deputy Secretary for Economic and Social Security on the National Security and Defense Council was none other than Burisma’s majority owner and Ukrainian oligarch, Mykola Zlochevsky.
Zlochevsky’s time under Yanukovych’s protection was soon coming to an end (Yanukovych was ousted in February 2014), and he was aware that the Ukrainian Prosecutor General had begun sniffing around regarding allegations that he was mishandling Burisma’s finances. In April 2014, the same month that Hunter Biden was added to the board at Burisma, Zlochevsky’s funds were frozen by the Serious Fraud Office in the U.K. Locked out of his bank account and facing prison time under prosecution in Ukraine, Zlochevsky fled Ukraine for his property in Monaco.
Still, adding Hunter Biden to the board was seen as a coup for Zlochevsky. As the Washington Post wrote:
When then-Vice President Joe Biden’s son joined the board of an obscure Ukrainian gas company half a decade ago, it was a stunning coup for its owner, a former Ukrainian minister working to remake the company’s image as he faced a money-laundering investigation.
Also according to the report, Hunter Biden claims:
He joined Burisma at the urging of the former Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski, who was on the company’s board, and because he believed helping to create Ukraine’s energy independence would help shield the country from Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
Except that Joe Biden’s buddy, Yanukovich, was sympathetic to Russia. And it strains credulity to believe that Hunter Biden randomly joined the Burisma board of directors at the urging of Kwasniewski, when his business partner, Devon Archer, had just joined the board. Another business partner, Chris Heinz, severed his business relationship with the two when they failed to heed his warning not to join Burisma. Heinz’s spokesman, Chris Bastardi, told WaPo:
“Mr. Heinz strongly warned Mr. Archer that working with Burisma was unacceptable. Mr. Archer stated that he and Hunter Biden intended to pursue the opportunity as individuals, not as part of the firm. The lack of judgment in this matter was a major catalyst for Mr. Heinz ending his business relationships with Mr. Archer and Mr. Biden.”
Fortunately for Zlochevsky, the prosecutor who had been looking into him was also ousted in the revolution that took out Viktor Yanukovich. Over the course of the next two years, Ukraine burned through two more Prosecutors General before the position landed on Viktor Shokin, the prosecutor whom Joe Biden infamously brags about getting fired.
(This is the second in a series of articles exploring Hunter Biden and Chris Heinz’s business dealings with Chinese entities. Additional reporting and research have been provided by RedState’s Scott Hounsell.)