Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President Joe Biden, plans to step down from the board of directors of a Chinese firm, amid scrutiny of his business dealings in Ukraine and China, according to a statement from his attorney.
Biden also committed to not serve on the boards of or work for any foreign companies if his father is elected president in 2020.
Hunter Biden holds an unpaid position on the board of directors of BHR (Shanghai) Equity Investment Fund Management Co., according to his attorney, George Mesires. He “committed to invest” $420,000 into the company in October 2017 to acquire a 10 percent equity position which hasn’t yielded any dividends, Mesires said.
Biden intends to resign from the board of BHR on or before Oct. 31.
“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,” Mesires said.
BHR’s acquisition of Henniges, a U.S. antivibration technology manufacturer, is under scrutiny by the Senate Finance Committee and Judicial Watch, a conservative government transparency group. To acquire Henniges, BHR partnered with the Chinese Communist Party-owned aviation company Aviation Industry Corp.
Biden’s statement reveals, for the first time, his own narrative related to his work in Ukraine and China.
According to the statement, Biden joined the board of directors of Burisma, Ukraine’s largest independent oil producer, in April 2014. Prior to joining the board, Biden was advising Burisma as part of his work for U.S. law firm Boies Schiller Flexner.
The former president of Poland Aleksander Kwasniewski “recommended” that Hunter join the board of Burisma, although the statement doesn’t make clear whether Kwasniewski made the recommendation to Biden, Burisma, or both. Biden joined the board as a non-executive member and was paid for the position; the statement doesn’t reveal the exact sum. He resigned from the board in April.
Hunter Biden’s work in Ukraine and China came to light after an anonymous whistleblower complained about a call between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky. During the call, Trump had asked Zelensky to look into Biden’s dealings in Ukraine, which, at the time, had already been questioned by investigative reports by The New York Times and The Hill and as part of “Secret Empires,” a book by investigative author Peter Schweizer.
While the whistleblower alleged that Trump’s request to Zelensky may have constituted a campaign finance violation, the Justice Department examined the complaint and determined that no further action was necessary. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) nonetheless started an impeachment inquiry based on the allegations, announcing the inquiry even before a copy of the whistleblower complaint or a transcript of the Trump–Zelensky call were made public.
Trump’s request to Zelensky dealt with Hunter Biden’s position with Burisma and the firing of a top prosecutor who was investigating the company. Joe Biden bragged in early 2018 about forcing the firing of that top prosecutor by withholding U.S. loan guarantees. The fired prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, said in a sworn statement that he was fired due to pressure from Biden because he refused to drop the Burisma investigation.
A spokeswoman for Joe Biden’s campaign confirmed that Hunter Biden’s position with Burisma was approved by the Obama White House.
“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,” Mesires said.