- President Donald Trump this week suggested that Hunter Biden had used his position as then-Vice President Joe Biden’s son to secure a $US1.5 billion deal with the Chinese state bank for a Chinese private equity company where he is a board member.
- There is no evidence to this claim.
- The $US1.5 billion appears to refer to a sum that BHR, the private equity firm, was trying to raise in 2014 to invest outside China, according to The Wall Street Journal.
- But Biden’s lawyer said Biden has never profited from his work at BHR.
- Here’s what we know about Hunter Biden’s business dealings in China.
The global business dealings of Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President Joe Biden, have been thrust into the spotlight after President Donald Trump suggested without evidence that the father and son had engaged in corruption in Ukraine and China.
Trump on Thursday openly called on China to investigate the Bidens, suggesting – without evidence – that China had given $US1.5 billion to a Chinese private equity firm where Hunter Biden was a board member to secure favourable deals with the US while Joe Biden was Vice President.
President Trump: “China should start an investigation into the Bidens because what happened in China is just about as bad as what happened with Ukraine. So, I would say that President Zelensky, if it were me, I would recommend that they start an investigation into the Bidens.” pic.twitter.com/Xia8vLUVT2
— CSPAN (@cspan) October 3, 2019
Here’s what we know about the background of this allegation.
- Biden has been a board member at BHR Equity Investment Fund Management Company, a Chinese state-backed private equity firm, since late 2013, according to The New York Times and the South China Morning Post.
- In 2017, Biden bought 10% of the company for about $US420,000, The Times reported.
- The $US1.5 billion Trump cited on Thursday appears to refer to a sum that BHR was trying to raise in 2014 to invest outside China, as The Wall Street Journal reported at the time.
- That sum appeared in “Secret Empires,” a book published last year that criticised Biden’s business activities, The Journal reported.
- Peter Schweizer, the author, said BHR “would seal a highly unusual $US1.5 billion deal with funding from the Chinese government” after Biden flew to Beijing aboard Air Force Two at the time.
- Trump has praised the book in the past, The Journal reported.
- Trump on Thursday suggested that Biden used his position as the vice president’s son to secure the money from China’s state-owned bank, and made millions in the process, the South China Morning Post reported.
- But Biden’s lawyer George Mesires said earlier this week that Biden had never been paid for sitting on BHR’s board, and has not received any payouts from his investment, according to The Times and The Washington Post.
- BHR has removed all photos of Hunter Biden from its website, the South China Morning Post reported on Saturday. BBHR has not yet responded to Business Insider’s request for confirmation and comment on the date of the photo’s removal.
Mesires has not yet responded to Business Insider’s request for comment on Biden’s current role and responsibility at BHR Partners.
BHR has not yet responded to Business Insider’s request for comment on Biden’s role and responsibility at the firm.
Doing business with the family of powerful politicians is not uncommon in China, as Beijing sees it as a way to gain favourable treatment. Members of Trump’s family have also profited in China in recent months.
The Chinese government has awarded Ivanka Trump’s now-shuttered fashion brand multiple trademarks in the past year, prompting questions of conflicts of interest.
In 2017, Jared Kushner’s sister also cited her connections to the US presidency to sell luxury real estate in New Jersey to wealthy Chinese investors in Beijing.
Hunter Biden’s connections to Ukrainian gas company named Burisma is also facing scrutiny amid Trump’s allegations against the Bidens.
All of this came to the surface after an anonymous whistleblower raised concerns over a July 25 call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which Trump urged Zelensky to investigate the Bidens.
By ALEXANDRA MA