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31 Jul, 2023 20:58

Biden spoke at 20 of son’s foreign business meetings – media

Ukrainian energy firm Burisma hired Hunter Biden to help woo clients and fend off oversight from Kiev, a former business partner has testified
Biden spoke at 20 of son’s foreign business meetings – media

Hunter Biden was hired by a Ukrainian energy company to add value to “the brand,” and called his father, President Joe Biden, during key meetings to impress the company’s clients, Hunter’s former business associate reportedly told a congressional hearing on Monday. 

Hunter Biden joined the board of Ukrainian energy firm Burisma in 2014, while his father was vice president of the US. According to invoices found on his laptop in 2020, he received a salary of $83,333 per month until his father left office in 2017, and up to $50,000 until his resignation in 2019, despite having no experience in the energy sector.

Testifying to the Republican-led House Oversight Committee on Monday, Hunter’s former business partner, Devon Archer, told lawmakers that Burisma hired the younger Biden to boost its “brand” with potential clients, according to Fox News reporter Chad Pergram.

Hunter and Joe Biden would talk on speakerphone during Burisma’s meetings with Chinese, French, and Russian businesspeople, Archer reportedly told the committee. Archer explained that demonstrating Burisma’s connections to Washington was vital for the company’s survival, and that it “would have gone under if not for ‘the brand,’” Pergram paraphrased.

Burisma founder Mykola Zlochevsky pressured Hunter to “get help from DC” regarding a corruption investigation by Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin in 2015, Archer reportedly testified, adding that Hunter obliged and called an unknown contact in Washington during one meeting.

Shokin was removed from office in 2016. In a 2018 interview, Joe Biden boasted that while on a trip to Kiev in 2015, he threatened to withhold $1 billion in loan guarantees from then-Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko unless Shokin was fired. “Well, son of a bitch, he got fired,” Biden allegedly said.

President Biden has repeatedly claimed that he had no involvement in his son’s business dealings, despite files from Hunter’s laptop suggesting that a host of clients paid the younger Biden for access to his father. Archer’s testimony further contradicts the president’s denial, but Democrats present at the hearing insisted that the 20 phone calls were perfectly innocent.

“It was all casual conversation, niceties, the weather, ‘What’s going on’?” New York Representative Dan Goldman told reporters after the hearing, adding that “there wasn’t a single conversation about any of the business dealings that Hunter had.”

Zlochevsky told an FBI informant in 2016 that he was “coerced” into making a $10 million bribe to Hunter and Joe Biden, and that he had multiple recordings to back up his claims, according to an FBI document obtained by the Oversight Committee and released by Republican Senator Chuck Grassley earlier this month.

President Biden has described the bribery allegations as “a bunch of malarkey,” asking the New York Post “where’s the money?”