Friday, October 23, 2020

Op-ed: Biden faces uphill task regaining trust of public after bombshell report

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In two bombshell reports, Emma-Jo Morris and Gabrielle Fonrouge of the New York Post have leveled damning allegations of Hunter Biden’s murky financial dealings with Ukrainian and Chinese oligarchs. As expected, $50,000 remuneration paid by Burisma Holdings of Ukraine annually for Hunter’s “consultancy job” was only the tip of the iceberg. Hunter was paid millions of dollars bribes that sustained his “rockstar lifestyle” over the years.

The first report published on Thursday, October 14, is titled “Smoking-gun email reveals how Hunter Biden introduced Ukrainian businessman to VP Dad” that has been suppressed by social media giants Facebook and Twitter on the pretext of “curtailing disinformation,” though it can be argued that if such evidentiary standards were applied for muzzling the press, then all the mainstream media houses relying on anonymous sources and “persons familiar with the matter” would have to be permanently shut down.

Nevertheless, Emma-Jo Morris and Gabrielle Fonrouge write: “Hunter Biden introduced his father, then-Vice President Joe Biden, to a top executive at a Ukrainian energy firm less than a year before the elder Biden pressured government officials in Ukraine into firing a prosecutor who was investigating the company, according to emails obtained by The Post.

“The never-before-revealed meeting is mentioned in a message of appreciation that Vadym Pozharskyi, an adviser to the board of Burisma, allegedly sent Hunter Biden on April 17, 2015, about a year after Hunter joined the Burisma board at a reported salary of up to $50,000 a month.

“’Dear Hunter, thank you for inviting me to DC and giving an opportunity to meet your father and spent some time together. It’s realty an honor and pleasure,’ the email reads.”

Read more: The Joe Biden Doctrine: Cheerlead Wars, Feign Ignorance Later

The New York Post report adds: “Less than eight months after Pozharskyi thanked Hunter Biden for the introduction to his dad, the then-vice president admittedly pressured Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk into getting rid of Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin by threatening to withhold a $1 billion US loan guarantee during a December 2015 trip to Kiev.

“’I looked at them and said: I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money,’ Biden infamously bragged to the Council on Foreign Relations in 2018. ‘Well, son of a bitch. He got fired.’

“Shokin has said that at the time of his firing, in March 2016, he’d made ‘specific plans’ to investigate Burisma that ‘included interrogations and other crime-investigation procedures into all members of the executive board, including Hunter Biden.’”

If we look at the sequence of events and the first-hand evidence provided by the New York Post report, what could be more incontestable proof of Joe Biden’s conflict of interest and complicity in shielding his son’s sleazy dealings with Burisma Holdings of Ukraine?

Burisma Holdings

Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden joined the board of directors of Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian energy company, on April 18, 2014. Joe Biden traveled to Ukrainian capital Kyiv couple of days later on April 21, 2014, and urged the Ukrainian government “to reduce its dependence on Russia for supplies of natural gas”

In December 2015, then-vice president Biden visited Kyiv and informed the Ukrainian government that $1 billion in loan guarantees would be withheld unless anti-corruption reforms were implemented, including the removal of Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin investigating illicit financial dealings of Burisma. Ukraine’s parliament voted to dismiss Shokin in March 2016, and the loan guarantees were approved on June 3, 2016.

Read more: Hunter Biden: Poster boy for cronyism in corporate America

It’s still possible that the entire sequence of events was nothing more than a series of “fortuitous coincidences,” if one is as credulous as the apt electoral symbol of the Democratic Party, the jackass.

Hunter Biden’s illicit financial dealings with Chinses billionaire 

In the second report published on Friday, October 15, the authors have furnished documentary evidence of Hunter Biden’s illicit financial dealings, amounting to millions of dollars and stakes in equities and profits of a Chinese oil company doing business in Africa, with a disgraced Chinese billionaire Ye Jianming.

According to an uncharacteristically non-partisan New York Times report, Ye Jianming had made inroads with Joe Biden’s brother James Biden, as well as Hunter Biden, as the Chinese tycoon sought to build influence in the United States

Emma-Jo Morris and Gabrielle Fonrouge note: “Another email — sent by Biden as part of an Aug. 2, 2017, chain — involved a deal he struck with the since-vanished chairman of CEFC, Ye Jianming, for half-ownership of a holding company that was expected to provide Biden with more than $10 million a year ‘for introductions alone.’

’The chairman changed that deal after we met in MIAMI TO A MUCH MORE LASTING AND LUCRATIVE ARRANGEMENT to create a holding company 50% percent [sic] owned by ME and 50% owned by him,’ Biden wrote.

“A photo dated Aug. 1, 2017, shows a handwritten flowchart of the ownership of ‘Hudson West’ split 50/50 between two entities ultimately controlled by Hunter Biden and someone identified as ‘Chairman.’

“According to a report on Biden’s overseas business dealings released last month by Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), a company called Hudson West III opened a line of credit in September 2017.

“Biden’s email was sent to Gongwen Dong, whom the Wall Street Journal in October 2018 tied to the purchase by Ye-linked companies of two luxury Manhattan apartments that cost a total on $83 million.

“The documents obtained by The Post also include an ‘Attorney Engagement Letter’ executed in September 2017 in which one of Ye’s top lieutenants, former Hong Kong government official Chi Ping Patrick Ho, agreed to pay Biden a $1 million retainer for ‘Counsel to matters related to US law and advice pertaining to the hiring and legal analysis of any US Law Firm or Lawyer.’

“In December 2018, a Manhattan federal jury convicted Ho in two schemes to pay $3 million in bribes to high-ranking government officials in Africa for oil rights in Chad and lucrative business deals in Uganda. Ho served a three-year prison sentence and was deported to Hong Kong in June.”

In December 2018, more than an year before Joe Biden was chosen as the Democratic presidential nominee, the mainstream media first broke the story of the murky dealings between the Biden family and Chinese billionaire Ye Jianming.

According to an uncharacteristically non-partisan New York Times report, Ye Jianming had made inroads with Joe Biden’s brother James Biden, as well as Hunter Biden, as the Chinese tycoon sought to build influence in the United States. In early 2018, Hunter Biden was paid $1 million to represent Ye’s aide while he was facing the federal bribery charges in the United States.

“The Biden family treated the vice presidency as a for-profit corporation, flying around the globe, collecting millions of dollars from China, Ukraine, Russia and other countries.”

In August 2017, a subsidiary of Ye’s company wired $5 million into the bank account of a US company called Hudson West III, which over the next 13 months sent $4.79 million marked as consulting fees to Hunter Biden’s firm, the report said. Over the same period, Hunter Biden’s firm wired some $1.4 million to a firm associated with his uncle and aunt, James and Sara Biden.

A Washington Post report further elaborates the nature of illicit financial transactions with foreign companies and nationals conducted by Hunter Biden during his father’s tenure as the vice president:

“The Senate GOP report suggests that while his father was vice president, companies associated with Hunter Biden received $3.5 million from Russian tycoon Yelena Baturina, who is the widow of former Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov and is a member of Kazakhstan’s political elite.

“The records in the report also detail a number of transactions involving Ye Jianming, a Chinese oil tycoon who was taken into custody by Chinese authorities in 2018 after one of his top aides was convicted in a US federal court of bribing officials in Chad and Uganda for oil contracts.”

In a 2019 interview [5] with the New Yorker, Hunter Biden said he was working with Ye to identify investments in the United States, including a substantial liquefied natural gas investment in Louisiana. But he said the deal fell through after Chinese authorities detained Ye.

Hunter Biden told the New Yorker he did not consider Ye to be “a shady character at all” and said the situation was “bad luck.” Although Hunter Biden didn’t consider Ye Jianming “a shady character at all,” he was such a swindler that when Chinese authorities detained him in early 2018, his wealth had mushroomed from $35 million in 2009 to $37 billion in 2016, a time period incidentally coinciding with Joe Biden’s vice presidency.

The Biden family pledges to not engage in foreign business activities 

In an interview with Axios late last year, Joe Biden pledged that his family wouldn’t engage in any foreign business activities if he were elected president. “They will not be engaged in any foreign business, because of what’s happened in the Trump administration,” the former vice president said. “No one is going to be seeking patents for things from China. No one is going to be engaged in that kind of thing.”

Read more: Trump vs Biden: Race to the White House

Once bitten, twice shy. If Joe Biden couldn’t keep a leash on his prodigal son’s illicit financial transactions spanning the entire globe during his term as the vice president, how could Americans trust that he wouldn’t abuse the authority for pecuniary gains if elected president?

In fact, after learning about the New York Post’s investigative journalism regarding Hunter Biden’s murky financial dealings with Ukrainian and Chinese oligarchs involving tens of millions of dollars in illicit kickbacks, President Trump wittily quipped: “The Biden family treated the vice presidency as a for-profit corporation, flying around the globe, collecting millions of dollars from China, Ukraine, Russia and other countries.”

Nauman Sadiq is an Islamabad-based attorney, columnist and geopolitical analyst focused on the politics of Af-Pak and Middle East regions, neocolonialism and petro-imperialism. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.

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