Former Vice President Joe Biden is drawing scrutiny over his role in a Ukranian gas company that appointed his son, Hunter Biden, to the board of directors.
The company, Burisma, was being investigated by Ukraine’s top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, and as vice president, Biden pressured the Ukrainian government to oust him, threatening to withhold $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees, according to the New York Times.
“Among those who had a stake in the outcome was Hunter Biden, Mr. Biden’s younger son, who at the time was on the board of an energy company owned by a Ukrainian oligarch who had been in the sights of the fired prosecutor general,” the paper noted.
Hunter Biden is a Yale-educated lawyer and just months after being discharged from the Navy Reserve for cocaine use, he scored a sweet position with Burisma Holdings, which paid up to $50,000 per month in some months.
The Times reported on a “broad effort” by the company to “bring in well-connected Democrats during a period when the company was facing investigations backed not just by domestic Ukrainian forces but by officials in the Obama administration.”
Biden’s son, who left Burisma’s board last month, was reportedly brought on as part of that endeavor.
And while the U.S. media was obsessed with Paul Manafort’s activities in Ukraine, the interest in the younger Biden’s affairs paled in comparison.
The Times reported that current Ukrainian prosecutor general has decided to reopen an investigation into Burisma, a natural gas exploration and production company that is owned by Mykola Zlochevsky. Possible tax evasion and money laundering were part of previous concerns regarding the company.
The prosecutor general, Yuriy Lutsenko, is expected to be replaced by a new incoming administration and it’s not clear if his replacement would continue the effort.
And with Joe Biden running for president and leading among his fellow Democrats in the polls, Trump’s team is calling attention to the matter.
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, now one of President Trump’s personal attorneys, linked to the N.Y. Times story, which mentions him extensively, on social media, highlighting Biden’s conflicts while calling for an investigation.
“Biden conflicts are too apparent to be ignored and should be investigated quickly and expeditiously,” Giuliani said in a tweet. “But the more important question is how deep and how high did the alleged Ukraine conspiracy go?”
https://t.co/FNVj16Hf10 via @nytimes. Biden conflicts are too apparent to be ignored and should be investigated quickly and expeditiously. But the more important question is how deep and how high did the alleged Ukraine conspiracy go?
— Rudy Giuliani (@RudyGiuliani) May 2, 2019
“I can assure you this all started with an allegation about possible Ukrainian involvement in the investigation of Russian meddling, and not Biden,” Giuliani is quoted in the article as saying. “The Biden piece is collateral to the bigger story, but must still be investigated, but without the prejudgments that infected the collusion story.”
Biden campaign spokeswoman Kate Bedingfield told The Times that Biden’s push to oust Shokin in 2016 was undertaken “without any regard for how it would or would not impact any business interests of his son, a private citizen.”
An effort consistent with “the United States’ foreign policy to root out corruption in Ukraine,” she added.
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