The son of former US vice-president Joe Biden has announced that he will step down from the board of a Chinese-backed private equity company amid fierce attacks by President Donald Trump.
- Mr Trump has called on China to investigate Hunter Biden’s activities
- Mr Biden invested in BHR (Shanghai) Equity Investment Fund Management Company, but says he didn’t profit from it
- His lawyer says he did not engage in wrongdoing in China or Ukraine
Hunter Biden, the 49-year-old son of Mr Biden, revealed his plan in an internet post written by his lawyer, George Mesires.
The post defended Hunter Biden’s work in Ukraine and China, which has emerged as one of Mr Trump’s chief lines of attack against his the elder Biden — who is a leading Democratic presidential candidate — despite no proof of impropriety.
“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,” the post said.
“In any event, Hunter will agree not to serve on boards of, or work on behalf of, foreign owned companies.”
Mr Mesires said in the post that Hunter Biden undertook business activities independently and did not discuss them with his father.
In a tweet hours after the post, Mr Trump accused Hunter Biden of having “raided and scammed even more countries”.
Mr Trump’s accusations against Hunter Biden — which he has put forward repeatedly without evidence — and his efforts to get officials in Ukraine to investigate, led Democrats in the US House last month to begin an impeachment inquiry into the President.
Democrats asserted Mr Trump risked US national security when he withheld aide to Ukraine while simultaneously pressing the country to investigate the Bidens for his own political gain.
If impeached, Mr Trump could face a trial in the US Senate, with the ultimate punishment for wrongdoing being removal from office.
The House impeachment inquiry is expected to accelerate this week as Congress returns on Monday (local time) from a two-week break and more witnesses go before committees for closed-door testimony.
White House officials said they would not comply with House investigators, and Mr Trump has denied wrongdoing.
The most recent bout of attacks from Mr Trump focused on Hunter Biden’s work on the board of BHR (Shanghai) Equity Investment Fund Management Company, a Chinese firm that was founded to spend Chinese investment capital outside the country.
Hunter Biden invested about $US420,000 ($618,000) in the company to obtain an equity stake but has received no profit since then, according to his lawyer.
He intends to step down from the board by October 31, according to the statement, which did not give a reason for his decision.
In remarks at the White House 10 days ago, Mr Trump implored the Chinese to investigate Hunter Biden’s role in the company.
Separately, Mr Biden’s lawyer detailed his work at Burisma, an energy company in Ukraine, saying that while he worked there he faced no allegations of wrongdoing. Mr Biden left the company in April.
“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,” Mr Mesires said.
Mr Mesires wrote that Mr Biden worked as an unpaid board member for BHR Equity Investment Fund Management Company “based on his interest in seeking ways to bring Chinese capital to international markets”.
“To date, Hunter has not received any compensation for being on BHR’s board of directors,” Mr Mesires said.
“He has not received any return on his investment; there have been no distributions to BHR shareholders since Hunter obtained his equity interest.”
Joe Biden currently leads most public opinion polls in the Democratic primary, and most polls in a hypothetical match-up between him and Mr Trump in the November 2020 election.
Mr Biden has defended his son’s work, accusing Mr Trump of only attacking his son because he feels his re-election is under threat from the Democrat frontrunner.