Senate report fails to implicate Joe Biden in son's businesses

By: AFP      Published: 09:58 PM, 23 Sep, 2020
Senate report fails to implicate Joe Biden in son's businesses

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden received repeated warnings that his son Hunter Biden was involved in questionable business relationships in Ukraine and China that ran contrary to US interests, a Senate Republican report said Wednesday.

As vice president Joe Biden took no action to deter his son from those relationships, which appeared designed to give foreign businesses inroads into the US government, according to the report.

But the report from Senate Republicans, released six weeks before the presidential election showdown between Biden and President Donald Trump, did not find that Joe Biden altered US policy or took other actions to assist Hunter.

It was nevertheless heralded by Trump supporters as "evidence" of wrongdoing by the former vice president.

"Hunter Biden had business associations with Chinese nationals linked to the Communist government & People's Liberation Party... All while Hunter's dad was VPOTUS," said Senator Ron Johnson, who directed the probe.

The report details Hunter Biden's multi-million-dollar business ties to controversial Ukraine energy group Burisma and Chinese investment group Bohai Capital in 2013-2016.

At the time Joe Biden was vice president under president Barack Obama, and was personally involved in putting official pressure on the Kiev government to get rid of powerful corrupt officials.

Burisma was controlled by tycoon Mykola Zlochevsky, who the US believed was involved in corrupt payments to top officials, according to the report.

But in 2014 Hunter Biden and his business partner Devon Archer were invited to join Burisma's board, each earning up to $50,000 a month.

At the time US diplomatic officials repeatedly warned Biden of the implicit conflict of interest.

But no evidence was offered that the vice president altered US policy to help his son.

Instead, the report said Hunter Biden's tie to Burisma "was awkward" for US policymakers and "hindered" anti-corruption measures in Ukraine.

In China Hunter Biden linked up with a Chinese group to create a fund for capital investments.

The Senate report says that one of those investments, into a US auto parts maker, was cleared of security concerns by a powerful US government board in 2015 during the Obama administration.

But it makes no link between the decision and Joe Biden.

The report also says that Biden and Archer's US company in 2014 received a $3.5 million consulting payment from a company owned by Elena Baturina, the billionaire wife of the former mayor of Moscow.

The Biden company appeared to have later helped Baturina invest in a US technology startup that went bankrupt in 2019.

There was no immediate comment on the report from either of the Bidens.