An attorney for Hunter Biden released a statement on Sunday offering a fact-based account of his business interests in Ukraine in China.
“Hunter stepped off Bursima’s board in April, 2019. Despite extensive scrutiny, at no time has any law enforcement agency, either domestic or foreign, alleged that Hunter engaged in wrongdoing at any point during his five-year term”, the statement reads.
As to China, George Mesires (the attorney), notes the following, which will come as something of a surprise to those who have uncritically accepted Donald Trump’s shrieking balderdash:
To date, Hunter has not received any compensation for being on BHR (Shanghai) Equity Investment Fund Management Company’s board of directors. He has not received any return on his investment; there have been no distributions to BHR shareholders since Hunter obtained his equity interest. Moreover, Hunter played no role in directing or making BHR’s investments.
Hunter will step down from the BHR board by the end of this month, the statement (copied in full below) reads. It also says that in the event his father wins the Oval Office, “Hunter will agree not to serve on boards of, or work on behalf of, foreign owned companies”.
To be clear, this shouldn’t have been necessary. A July profile in The New Yorker (which we’ve referenced on several occasions) written in consultation with Hunter is shockingly forthcoming and goes into excruciating detail in the course of documenting those two business endeavors as well as his tumultuous personal life, including and especially drug and alcohol addiction.
It would be impossible for Joe Biden’s political opponents to deliver a piece of opposition research on the younger Biden more damning than that which he himself delivered voluntarily over the summer. And indeed, that was the point of the The New Yorker article – to get it all out there.
But Donald Trump has persisted in his efforts to make the 2020 campaign all about Hunter, despite the fact that those efforts have now resulted in a spiraling impeachment inquiry and have put Rudy Giuliani in all manner of legal jeopardy. All of that, while Elizabeth Warren has overtaken Biden in several polls, suggesting Trump may have risked his presidency tilting at the wrong windmill.
On October 3, Trump publicly called on China’s Xi Jinping to investigate Hunter, throwing gas on the impeachment inferno in the process. There is no evidence to support any of Trump’s claims, despite Giuliani’s efforts to manufacture “proof” of what, as late as September 29, he was still calling “a massive pay for play scheme” in Ukraine and China. Pressed to produce evidence on national television, Giuliani resorted to waving around loose papers which turned out to be printouts from right-wing websites.
At a rally in Minneapolis this week, Trump mocked Hunter as follows:
Hunter, you know nothing about energy, you know nothing about China, you know nothing about anything, frankly. Hunter, you’re a loser. Your father was never considered smart. he was never considered a good senator. He was only a good vice president because he understood how to kiss Barack Obama’s a–.
It wouldn’t be accurate to call that a “new low” for Trump because during the same speech, the president delivered an egregious rant against Ilhan Omar and Somali immigrants so vile that some media outlets eschewed posting the clips.
According to The New Yorker, Hunter agreed in divorce proceedings to pay his ex-wife Kathleen a monthly payment of thirty-seven thousand dollars for alimony, tuition, and child-care costs for a decade. By his account, he lives on “approximately four thousand dollars a month”. “Hardly poor”, The New Yorker writes, but certainly “an adjustment”.
Although he can doubtlessly turn to his father in a pinch (and although anyone with Hunter’s connections will never be totally cut off from sources of funds), The New Yorker does note that “on occasion, transactions on [Hunter’s] credit cards [have been] declined” lately.
Suffice to say that never happens to Don Jr. or Ivanka.
Editor’s note: Rudy Giuliani is now reportedly under investigation by Manhattan prosecutors for his lobbying efforts in Ukraine after his fixers in the country were arrested on campaign finance charges tied to a scheme that resulted in the ouster of former ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch. Yovanovitch gave a damning account to lawmakers on Friday. Trump’s anti-Biden ads were banned last week by NBC Universal and CNN for containing baseless allegations against the Bidens. The president’s campaign has not, to date, provided any proof or evidence to back up Trump’s claims about Hunter’s business activities in Ukraine or China.
A Statement on behalf of Hunter Biden, dated October 13, 2019
By George Mesires
Hunter Biden’s business activities have received significant press attention. Since 2016, I have served as Hunter’s lawyer. In recent weeks, I have received numerous questions about those activities, many of which have been shaped by allegations bearing little resemblance to the public record. The following is a succinct, fact-based accounting of Hunter Biden’s business activities in Ukraine and China. Hunter has also outlined specific commitments that would govern his business and financial dealings during a Biden Administration.
Ukraine: Burisma Holdings Limited (“Burisma”)
In April 2014, Hunter was asked to join the board of Burisma, the largest independent natural gas producer in Ukraine. At the time, Hunter was of counsel with Boies Schiller Flexner LLP [fn 1] (“Boies Schiller”), a major U.S. law firm, and was advising Burisma on its corporate reform initiatives, an important aspect of fueling Burisma’s international growth and diversity. Vibrant energy production, particularly natural gas, was central to Ukraine’s independence and to stemming the tide of Vladimir Putin’s attack on the principles of a democratic Europe.
To further its goals of independence, Burisma sought to adopt standards and practices traditionally employed by Western companies. At Hunter’s urging, Boies Schiller engaged Nardello & Co., a leading global investigative firm, to assess, among other things, Burisma’s corporate structure and governance practices. Burisma agreed to pay the legal expenses of Boies Schiller to support Hunter in developing corporate reform initiatives.
Because of Burisma’s stated commitment to corporate best practices, it was able to attract well-qualified board members, including the former president of Poland, Aleksander Kwasniewski, a leading advocate of democratic principles in the region. President Kwasniewski, familiar with Hunter’s work on behalf of Burisma, recommended that Hunter join the board.
Hunter joined the board as a non-executive director, meaning he was an independent board member and not a member of the management team. At no time was Hunter in charge of the company’s legal affairs. Like all Burisma directors, Hunter was compensated for his board service.
Hunter focused his work on the principles of corporate transparency, governance and responsibility, which was based on his prior experience as a lawyer and director on other boards, including the Chair of World Food Program USA, which supports the largest humanitarian organization in the world, Vice-Chair of the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak), to which he was appointed by President George W. Bush, Center for National Policy, Truman National Security Project, and the U.S. Global Leadership Campaign.
Hunter stepped off Bursima’s board in April, 2019. Despite extensive scrutiny, at no time has any law enforcement agency, either domestic or foreign, alleged that Hunter engaged in wrongdoing at any point during his five-year term.
China: BHR (Shanghai) Equity Investment Fund Management Company (“BHR”)
Founded in 2013, BHR (Shanghai) Equity Investment Fund Management Company (“BHR”) is a Chinese limited liability company formed with the stated intent to invest Chinese capital outside of China. Hunter neither played a role in the formation or licensure of the company, nor owned any equity in it while his father was Vice President. He served only as a member of its board of directors, which he joined based on his interest in seeking ways to bring Chinese capital to international markets. It was an unpaid position.
BHR was capitalized with 30 million renminbi (RMB), or approximately $4.2 million USD at today’s currency exchange rates. In October 2017, Hunter committed to invest approximately $420,000 USD (as of 10/12/2019) to acquire a 10% equity position in BHR, which he still holds.
To date, Hunter has not received any compensation for being on BHR’s board of directors. He has not received any return on his investment; there have been no distributions to BHR shareholders since Hunter obtained his equity interest. Moreover, Hunter played no role in directing or making BHR’s investments. Hunter intends to resign from the BHR board of directors on or by October 31, 2019.
Conduct During a Biden Presidency
Hunter undertook these business activities independently. He did not believe it appropriate to discuss them with his father, nor did he. Hunter always understood that his father would be guided, entirely and unequivocally, by established U.S. policy, irrespective of its effects on Hunter’s professional interests. This was the standard observed throughout Hunter’s professional career. When Hunter engaged in his business pursuits, he believed that he was acting appropriately and in good faith. He never anticipated the barrage of false charges against both him and his father by the president of the United States.
Hunter makes the following commitment: Under a Biden Administration, Hunter will readily comply with any and all guidelines or standards a President Biden may issue to address purported conflicts of interest, or the appearance of such conflicts, including any restrictions related to overseas business interests. In any event, Hunter will agree not to serve on boards of, or work on behalf of, foreign owned companies.
He will continue to keep his father personally uninvolved in his business affairs, while availing himself as necessary and appropriate to the Office of the White House Counsel to help inform his application of the Biden Administration’s guidelines or standards to his business decision-making.
fn 1. After graduating from Yale Law School, where Hunter served as an editor of both the Yale Law & Policy Review and the Yale Journal of Law & the Humanities, Hunter worked in numerous posts, including as a Senior Executive VP for a major U.S. bank, and as Executive Director of E-Commerce Policy Coordination for the United States Department of Commerce. Hunter also taught as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University School of Foreign Service Masters of Science program.