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13 Jun, 2023 03:30

Ukrainian gas executive has Biden ‘bribe’ recordings – US senator

The audio is said to be tied to an alleged scheme involving the president, his son Hunter and an energy firm
Ukrainian gas executive has Biden ‘bribe’ recordings – US senator

A Ukrainian gas executive who claimed to have paid bribes to US President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, retained more than a dozen recordings of his conversations with them as an “insurance policy,” Republican Senator Chuck Grassley has said, citing FBI documents.

In a statement published on Monday, the GOP lawmaker urged the Justice Department to release a full, unredacted copy of FBI files that allegedly outline a criminal bribery scheme between the Biden family and Ukrainian energy firm Burisma Holdings. The documents are reportedly based on FBI interviews with a “highly credible” confidential source who described several interactions with a top Burisma executive starting in 2015, when Biden was serving as vice president.

While the FBI shared the documents with select lawmakers last week, Grassley said key sections had been redacted, including “reference that the foreign national who allegedly bribed Joe and Hunter Biden allegedly has audio recordings of his conversations with them. Seventeen total recordings.” 

The Burisma executive kept the recordings “as a sort of insurance policy” in case he “got into a tight spot,” according to the senator, who said he had seen the full documents. He did not indicate what might have been said in the audio, however. 

Senator Grassley and House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer first highlighted the alleged bribes in May, citing a whistleblower who revealed the FBI was in possession of documents detailing its interviews with the confidential source. The Oversight Committee then subpoenaed the bureau for the records, which were only shared in redacted form last week after lawmakers threatened to hold FBI Director Christopher Wray in contempt of Congress. 

The documents are said to show that the unnamed Burisma executive discussed $5 million payments he allegedly made to both Joe and Hunter Biden during the Barack Obama presidency. Despite having little experience in the energy sector, the younger Biden was employed on Burisma’s board of directors between 2014 and 2019 and received more than $50,000 per month.

The Burisma official allegedly explained that the company had to “pay the Bidens” because a Ukrainian prosecutor was investigating the company. While Joe Biden recently dismissed the bribery allegations as “a bunch of malarkey,” he has acknowledged that he was responsible for the firing of Ukraine’s top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, who was investigating Burisma and its executives for corruption at the time. Biden said he did so by threatening to withhold US aid, but insists Shokin was replaced for refusing to go after corruption.