Former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin said that his office prepared in the summer of 2016 to interview then-Vice President Joe Biden's son Hunter Biden as part of a money laundering probe into Hunter Biden's employer, the Burisma energy company.
Shokin said that Ukraine's president at the time, Petro Poroshenko, came to him and said that Joe Biden cited the probe into Burisma as the reason the Obama administration wouldn't release $1 billion in aid to Ukraine.
"He came to me and said, 'You are a patriot of Ukraine. We need this billion dollars. We are at war and if you are a patriot, you will close this case," Shokin said. The phone call came after prosecutors seized some of Burisma's assets as part of the investigation.
"Poroshenko called me and said, 'Listen this all has to stop already. Joe Biden's temper is overflowing," Shokin said. The seizure of the assets prompted an in-person visit by Poroshenko, who asked Shokin to resign.
Poroshenko said that Biden was "angry about you freezing Burisma assets."
"Because of Biden. Everyone knew what was going on. Poroshenko told me directly that I had to step down as prosecutor general because of Joe Biden," Shokin said.
“The truth is that I was forced out because I was leading a wide-ranging corruption probe into Burisma Holdings, a natural gas firm active in Ukraine, and Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, was a member of the Board of Directors,” Shokin wrote.
“So they said they had—they were walking out to a press conference. I said, nah, I’m not going to—or, we’re not going to give you the billion dollars. They said, 'You have no authority. You’re not the president.' The president said—I said, 'Call him.' I said, 'I’m telling you, you’re not getting the billion dollars.' I said, 'You’re not getting the billion,'” he said.
“I’m going to be leaving here in, I think it was about six hours. I looked at them and said: 'I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money.' Well, son of a [expletive]. He got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time.”
Biden denied any wrongdoing in the matter, claiming that Shokin was corrupt.
Hunter Biden stepped down from his position on the board of Burisma earlier this year. Several Senate committees are probing what the Bidens did during their dealings with Ukraine.