Democratic presidential candidate, Joe Biden, has, for many months, been declining to answer questions about his son’s overseas business dealings in countries where the then-vice president was conducting diplomatic work.
In 2014, Hunter Biden held a directorship with a Ukrainian natural gas company called Burisma Holdings and at one point he made a salary of $50,000 from the company.
Burisma was owned by exiled minister Mykola Zlochevsky who faced numerous corruption investigations, including for Burisma Holdings, after a popular revolution removed President Viktor F. Yanukovych.
According to the New York times, Hunter, along with John Kerry’s stepson Christopher Heinz and Devon Archer, “pursued business with international entities that had a stake in American foreign policy decisions, sometimes in countries where connections implied political influence and protection”.
In 2015, Ukraine appointed Viktor Shokin as their new prosecutor and he would be the one looking into the charges against Mykola Zlochevsky and Burisma Holdings and it is his removal in 2016 that is at the center of the bribery allegations.
At an event sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations in 2018, Presidential candidate Joe Biden admitted that he threatened to withhold loan guarantees from the Ukraine unless Viktor Shoki was removed.
“I remember going over (to Ukraine), convincing our team … that we should be providing for loan guarantees. … And I was supposed to announce that there was another billion-dollar loan guarantee. And I had gotten a commitment from (then Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko) and from (then-Prime Minister Arseniy) Yatsenyuk that they would take action against the state prosecutor (Shokin). And they didn’t…” he said.
“They were walking out to a press conference. I said, nah, … we’re not going to give you the billion dollars. They said, ‘You have no authority. You’re not the president.’ … I said, call him. I said, I’m telling you, you’re not getting the billion dollars. I said, you’re not getting the billion. … I looked at them and said, ‘I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money.’ Well, son of a bitch. He got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time.”
Joe Biden brags about how he threatened to pull $1 billion in loan guarantees from Ukraine if it didn’t immediately fire Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin.— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) September 20, 2019
The prosecutor, who was fired, was leading a corruption investigation into a company that employed Biden’s son, Hunter pic.twitter.com/xZd3vIMbuL
In an article in The Hill entitled Joe Biden’s 2020 Ukrainian nightmare: A closed probe is revived the author John Soloman states:
Interviews with a half-dozen senior Ukrainian officials confirm Biden’s account, though they claim the pressure was applied over several months in late 2015 and early 2016, not just six hours of one dramatic day. Whatever the case, Poroshenko and Ukraine’s parliament obliged by ending Shokin’s tenure as prosecutor. Shokin was facing steep criticism in Ukraine, and among some U.S. officials, for not bringing enough corruption prosecutions when he was fired.
But Ukrainian officials tell me there was one crucial piece of information that Biden must have known but didn’t mention to his audience: The prosecutor he got fired 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.
U.S. banking records show Hunter Biden’s American-based firm, Rosemont Seneca Partners LLC, received regular transfers into one of its accounts — usually more than $166,000 a month — from Burisma from spring 2014 through fall 2015, during a period when Vice President Biden was the main U.S. official dealing with Ukraine and its tense relations with Russia.
The general prosecutor’s official file for the Burisma probe — shared with me by senior Ukrainian officials — shows prosecutors identified Hunter Biden, business partner Devon Archer and their firm, Rosemont Seneca, as potential recipients of money.
Shokin told me in written answers to questions that, before he was fired as general prosecutor, he had made “specific plans” for the investigation that “included interrogations and other crime-investigation procedures into all members of the executive board, including Hunter Biden.”
He added: “I would like to emphasize the fact that presumption of innocence is a principle in Ukraine” and that he couldn’t describe the evidence further.
General Prosecutor Viktor Shokin was forced to resign and in March 2016, and the Ukrainian Rada approved the resignation and Shokin was voted out of his position with an overwhelming majority.
To cover up the situation it was said that it wasn’t just the Biden’s who wanted Viktor Shokin removed from his position. It was said that the U.S. Government and the European Union both wanted Shokin removed because he was widely criticized for blocking reform to Ukraine’s broken legal system. This was not true.
Even if General Prosecutor Viktor Shokin’s removal was justified, experts agreed Hunter Biden’s involvement meant that it was a conflict of interest for Joe Biden no matter what.
An expert on Russia and Eurasian policy at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, Yoshiko M. Herrera, told the Washington Post that Hunter Biden’s position was “a conflict of interest even if it doesn’t break any laws.”
“Calling Hunter Biden a private citizen ignores the obvious links to the vice president,” Herrera continued. “Conflict-of-interest rules should have applied. If Biden is working for the Obama administration on Ukraine, his son should not have been on the board of a company there that could be affected by U.S. policy spearheaded by his father.”