Hunter Biden and an energy tycoon with extensive ties to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) had a cozy relationship, according to text messages disclosed to U.S. Senate investigators by Tony Bobulinski, one of Biden’s former business partners.
In text messages sent to Bobulinski on Oct. 14, 2017, Biden wrote that he and Ye Jianming, the founder of multibillion-dollar Chinese energy conglomerate CEFC China Energy, had a “solid” relationship. Biden said he was the first guest at Ye’s new apartment and that the billionaire cooked lunch for him.
“I’ve been talking to the Chairman on a regular basis. I was his first guest in his new apartment/ he cooked me lunch himself and we ate in the kitchen together,” Biden wrote, according to text message screenshots (pdf) obtained by The Epoch Times.
Biden added that Ye “has me helping him on a number of his personal issues,” including for “staff visas and some more sensitive things.”
The close relationship between the pair began as early as 2015, according to a report by the Republicans on the Senate Homeland Security Committee. The text messages raise significant questions considering the extensive ties between the communist regime and both Ye and his company.
While on paper a private enterprise, CEFC had a rare contract to store part of China’s strategic oil reserves, received financing from a regime-owned bank, and hired a number of former top officials from state-owned energy companies, according to Reuters. The company also had more layers of Communist Party committees than many private Chinese companies have.
The text message from Biden, the son of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, was in response to a question from Bobulinski, who had at that point spent months trying to figure out why Ye hadn’t yet wired $10 million to SinoHawk LLC, the U.S. joint venture incorporated by Ye, Hunter Biden, James Biden, Bobulinski, and two more partners, James Gilliar and Rob Walker.
SinoHawk LLC was created through a web of corporate entities, according to corporate records (pdf) obtained by The Epoch Times. Hudson West IV, a limited liability corporation controlled by Ye, owned half of SinoHawk. Hunter Biden and his partners owned the other half through Oneida Holdings LLC, which they in turn owned through five more corporate entities, one for each partner, the corporate documents (pdf) show.
According to Bobulinski, the “Sino” in SinoHawk stood for China, while “Hawk” was picked because it was the favorite animal of Beau Biden, Joe Biden’s deceased son.
The emails, text messages, and documents reviewed for this article were produced by Bobulinski to the media and later to the Senate Homeland Security Committee. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), the committee chairman, told The Epoch Times last week that the committee’s ongoing review has found nothing to put the authenticity of the documents in doubt.
“What I can say about all of those sources, we’re continuing to do our due diligence to verify and authenticate the genuineness of those emails,” Johnson said. “And to date, we have found nothing that disputes them. All we’ve found is verification, validation of their authenticity.”
At least one of the emails in the batch provided by Bobulinski matches word-for-word the emails purportedly obtained from a laptop belonging to Hunter Biden and published by The New York Post. Bobulinski reportedly turned over three of his smartphones to the FBI on Oct. 23.
Ye’s underlings in China and the United States kept telling Bobulinski that the wire was coming while putting up baffling roadblocks, such as asking Bobulinski what the goals of the joint venture were, despite signing off on corporate paperwork that listed the mission of the enterprise. Throughout the process, Bobulinski couldn’t get in direct contact with Ye and had to deal instead with his lieutenants.
“So u 1000% [didn’t] reach out to Chairman Ye or Director Zang and create parallel noise?” Bobulinski wrote to Hunter Biden on Oct. 14, 2017. “I didn’t [think] so but just trying to manage chaos.”
Biden responded by talking of his close relationship and regular talks with Ye, including that Ye engaged Biden as his attorney in the United States. Biden also curiously distanced himself from the acquisition deals in Oman and Luxemburg for which SinoHawk was ostensibly created.
“Anyway, he and I are solid so when and if you or James feel like I’m capable of telling him about your Oman and Luxembourg or The Russian guys deal just let me know. We have a standing once a week call as I am also his personal counsel (we signed an attorney client engagement letter) in the US,” Biden wrote.
“I assumed you lost interest as we haven’t spoken for so long. Are any deals that you said were closing—,” Biden wrote.
Bobulinski’s responses suggest he was baffled by the response, considering the amount of effort he and other partners expended to get in touch with Ye to secure the promised $10 million in funding for SinoHawk.
“About ‘my deals’ they apparently are our deals not my deals,” Bobulinski wrote. “Not much for games, they were supposed to fund 10 MM USD, which they never did, and am assuming u know that.”
Ye never wired the money to SinoHawk, but Bobulinski would later learn from the Homeland Security Committee report that Hunter and James Biden received money from Ye via another channel.
According to confidential documents obtained by the Senate Homeland Security Committee, on Aug. 4, 2017, more than two months before the Biden–Bobulinski text exchange, CEFC Infrastructure Investment (US) LLC, a subsidiary of Ye’s company, sent Hunter Biden’s law firm, Owasco, a payment for $100,000.
Four days later, CEFC Infrastructure Investment wired $5 million to the bank account for Hudson West III, another entity controlled by Ye. On the same day the money arrived, Hudson West III started sending frequent payments to Hunter Biden’s firm.
“These payments, which were described as consulting fees, reached $4,790,375.25 in just over a year,” the Senate report stated.
A month later, on Sept. 8, 2017, Hunter Biden and Gongwen Dong, Ye’s U.S. operative, applied for a credit line. Hunter Biden, James Biden, and James Biden’s wife, Sara Biden, were authorized users for the credit cards linked to the accounts. They subsequently used the credit cards to buy more than $100,000 in luxury items, including airline tickets and multiple items at Apple Inc. stores.
When Bobulinski learned two years later about the money that flowed to the Bidens, he reached out to James Biden.
“Hope you and family are well, safe and healthy. You can imagine my shock when reading the report yesterday put out by the Senate committee. The fact that you and HB were lying to Rob, James and I while accepting $5 MM from Cefc is infuriating,” Bobulinski wrote, using Hunter Biden’s initials.
“And so disappointing based on the years of work that James, Rob and team invested to get things done.”
Further hints about Ye and Biden’s intentions for SinoHawk are revealed in an email from one of Ye’s lieutenants to Bobulinski. On July 26, 2017, Zhao Runlong wrote about the $5 million of working capital intended for SinoHawk as money “lent to BD family.”
“This $5 million loan to BD family is interest-free. But if the 5 M is used up, should CEFC keep lending more to the family?” Zhao wrote, using “BD” as shorthand for “Biden.”
A review of nearly 1,800 pages of emails and more than 600 messages Bobulinski handed over to Congress suggests that Bobulinski’s insistence on running SinoHawk by the book may have resulted in Hunter Biden abandoning his partners and accepting money from Ye via another route.
Bobulinski summed up the events prior to the last presidential debate on Oct. 22, telling reporters that Hunter Biden wanted to use SinoHawk as a personal “piggy bank” before Bobulinski intervened. President Donald Trump invited Bobulinski as a guest to the debate because the emails and texts Bobulinski handed to Senate investigators can be viewed as damaging to Joe Biden.
Joe Biden’s name doesn’t come up in any of the corporate documents used to set up SinoHawk. At the time the company was formed, he was no longer in the White House.
The texts and emails show that Gilliar brought Bobulinski into the deal to work full-time as the CEO of SinoHawk. Hunter Biden began to voice concerns about the direction of the company in mid-May, 2017, less than two weeks before the paperwork incorporating SinoHawk was signed.
On May 13, 2017, Gilliar sent an email to Biden, Bobulinski, and Walker about proposed “remuneration packages” and an equity breakdown between the five partners. Under the proposal, Hunter Biden would receive an $850,000 salary and a 20 percent stake in Oneida Holdings, which, in turn, owned half of the joint venture with Ye’s company. The equity breakdown also included a 10 percent stake, which was to be held by Hunter Biden “for the big guy.” Bobulinski told reporters on Oct. 22 that the “big guy” was Joe Biden.
Hunter Biden reacted to the proposal by pointing out that he would need more than $850,000 because after alimony and taxes, he would be left with only $100,000 for himself.
“I have been the only one asked to give up all other active commercial interests- no consulting fees no promoting another business no continuing to work on existing projects etc…so I have to admit I do expect that if I can’t keep my toe in other things I will need a hell of a lot more than 850 p/y on a monthly basis,” Biden wrote.
On the same day, Bobulinski wrote a text message to Gilliar: “We need to manage Hunter as every discussion makes me feel like he thinks things are going to be his personal piggybank.”
On May 16, 2017, Bobulinski responded to Hunter and partners by pointing out that the company would need an operating budget in order to make a profit.
“We should all discuss so you are covered but you also have to be conscious of the moving parts and operating budgets and we have to pay a team of people who will be working 100 hours a week so we generate enough profits so we are distributing $10s of MM out to the owners,” Bobulinski wrote.
“I will be circulating the Terms for Oneida later today. In that I have included an [additional] payment to you and I as sitting on the board of SinoHawk. We can all discuss.”
In the following days, the money discussion escalated into a standoff about the ultimate control of the company. Bobulinski, who was taking on the CEO role, didn’t want to have his decisions overruled by the Bidens, who controlled half the company with the combined stakes. Hunter Biden pushed back hard, arguing that Ye went in for the deal solely due to the Biden family name.
“They are both coming to be MY partner to be partners with the Bidens,” Biden wrote in a group chat on May 17.
The next day, in a text message sent directly to Bobulinski, Biden outlined his case for getting full control of the company.
“Tony please stop the ‘[you’re] making me nervous’ bull [expletive]. Come on man we both want the same thing. We want to make certain we have as much control over our own fates as possible. I don’t blame you for wanting that – it doesn’t ‘make me nervous’ it is what it is. Just happens that in this instance only one player holds the trump card and that’s me,” Biden wrote.
“May not be fair but it’s the reality because I’m the only one putting an entire family legacy on the line/ and if you think it’s reasonable that I turn the keys over to someone that I’ve spent less than 12 hours with than that makes me nervous. So I’m asking you to do us all a favor and find a different way to alleviate your worries.”
The argument then spilled out again into the group chat, with Biden making the case for why he should have more control of the company. At one point, Biden appeared to threaten to break Bobulinski’s jaw, to which Bobulinski responded with an invitation to a fight. The argument exposed that Bobulinski didn’t want to end up being a figurehead CEO to cover for the Biden family’s involvement without any control over the company.
“And to add to it, if you are so worried about your family, you wouldn’t be doing this because as u said, all of your dad’s lawyers and any lawyer would advise you and Jim not to touch this with a 100 foot pole,” Bobulinski wrote.
“So if you are willing to take a risk so be it, I am willing to stand by your side and take risk as well but there has to be balance in governance and the board.”
While Joe Biden’s name doesn’t appear in any of the corporate records disclosed by Bobulinski, the Biden family name was nonetheless one of the key offerings to Ye from Hunter Biden and his partners.
An April 25, 2017, business proposal (pdf) prepared by the partners for CEFC, features a photo of Joe Biden with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos. The proposal touts Joe Biden’s relationship with Santos as a “strong one throughout the Obama administration.” A section dedicated to potential CEFC investments in Oman noted that Hunter Biden’s “family & friends” could be used to endorse Ye and CEFC and solicit a special exemption from the leader of Oman to establish a “CEFC vehicle” that is uniquely [sanctioned] by His Highness to omit the required local partner element.”
In a June 1, 2017, letter to Ye, Hunter Biden, after sending wishes from “my family and I,” wrote “I hope you are very happy with the progresses [sic] that has been made in Oman, this in my opinion cements our common belief, that by combining our connects and skills, we will create new opportunities in third geographies and economies, as well as the benefits for our two great countries.”
SinoHawk never got off the ground, but Hunter Biden and Gilliar appear to have been providing the same services for Ye in a less formal fashion since as early as February 2016.
In an email to CEFC sent on March 13, 2017, Gilliar referenced “several strategy documents that [were] prepared earlier in our relationship,” including a proposal for the CEFC acquisition of Westinghouse Electric Corporation in the United States. The Westinghouse proposal (pdf) attached to that email was dated Feb. 22, 2016.
CEFC China Energy was China’s largest privately held oil company before it was caught in Beijing’s crosshairs in 2018. The oil conglomerate made billions of dollars in Russia, Europe, and parts of Africa, while Ye fostered ties with high-level Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials.
Ye has been missing since early 2018 after he was placed under investigation by the Chinese regime for “suspected economic crimes” and detained. A state-owned enterprise took control of CEFC in March 2019, and, according to Chinese media Caixin, the firm declared bankruptcy early this year.
Hunter Biden, James Biden, Gilliar, Walker, Bobulinski, and the Joe Biden campaign didn’t immediately respond to requests by The Epoch Times for comment.
Seamus Bruner is the author of “Fallout” and “Compromised.” Jan Jekielek contributed to this report.