Russian Billionaire Who Wired $3.5M to Hunter Biden Got Contract From New Orleans Museum

September 24, 2020 Updated: September 24, 2020

A German company owned by the Russian billionaire who wired Hunter Biden $3.5 million received a contract to build part of the World War II Museum in New Orleans, according to a fact sheet on the museum’s website.

Elena Baturina, the widow of former Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov, bought German structural membrane manufacturer Hightex in early 2015, according to Russian-language news reports. In April 2017, she announced that Hightex will build part of the Canopy of Peace for the World War II Museum, according to several Russian-language media outlets.

Three years earlier, on Feb. 14, 2014, Baturina sent $3.5 million to Rosemont Seneca Thornton LLC, a company co-founded by Hunter Biden, son of then-Vice President Joe Biden, according to a report released by Senate Republicans on Sept. 23. The wire was accompanied by a note stating “Consultancy Agreement DD12.02.2014.”

The Canopy of Peace project at the WWII museum has been plagued by delays largely due to issues stemming from a different contractor, according to The New Orleans Advocate. As of August, half of the material from Hightex had yet to be shipped to the project, which was at that point eight months behind schedule. The museum told The Epoch Times in an email that it expects the rest of the material to be onsite by the end of October.

“The museum had no knowledge of any relationship between the Bidens, Devon Archer, and Hightex, and in no way, shape, or form were they a factor in the hiring decision,” the museum said in a statement emailed to The Epoch Times.

“Hightex was one of the companies that bid for the project, and the museum hired them because they had the best-qualified proposal for the job. Our vetting of Hightex was relegated to the company’s services and ability to complete the job.”

Joe Biden hosted a fundraiser at the museum during the early stages of his presidential campaign in August 2019.

While there’s no evidence of a link between Baturina’s wire and the contract awarded to the museum, questions about both transactions may emerge because the Senate Republicans discovered Baturina’s payments after they were flagged due to her “reported criminal activity.” Baturina didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment sent to the email of a think tank she founded.

A year after sending $3.5 million to Biden’s company between May 6 and Dec. 8, 2015, Baturina wired more than $241,000 to the company. The money was then forwarded to BAK USA LLC, a Buffalo-based tablet manufacturer that would eventually go bankrupt claiming it was $39 million in debt.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo had praised BAK USA when it received a contract from Microsoft in early 2016. Before BAK USA went bankrupt, New York state handed the firm a tax abatement allowing it to operate tax-free for 10 years. The firm has since re-incorporated and appears to be in the same line of business.

Three months after the last wire to BAK USA via Hunter Biden’s firm, Baturina announced that she had purchased $10 million in real estate near the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, according to a press release. She intended to convert the zoning of the assets to accommodate for residential units, a process which requires a lengthy approval process.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) led the effort behind the report released on Sept. 23. The Baturina transactions are a small part of a larger report that also documented links between Hunter Biden and foreign nationals from Ukraine and China.

Hunter Biden accepted a well-paid position on the board of a Ukrainian gas giant while his father served as the Obama administration’s point man on Ukraine. The report found that senior officials raised red flags about Hunter Biden’s role, which the administration repeatedly ignored.

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