Hunter Biden, the youngest son of President Joe Biden, appears to have kept his ten percent stake in an international private equity firm with ties to the Chinese government, despite promising to sell his share in the venture.
Biden, a one-time lobbyist who reinvented himself as an international businessman during his father’s tenure in the Obama administration, officially resigned from the board of Bohai Harvest RST (BHR) in October 2019. At the time, the younger Biden cited his father’s then-budding presidential campaign as the reason for his departure, suggesting he did not want to give the appearance of a conflict of interest.
As part of his decision to resign, Hunter Biden’s family associates suggested he would unload his stake in BHR to finally lay to rest questions about his business dealings. That impression was only bolstered in late 2019, when then-candidate Joe Biden pledged that, if elected, his family would relinquish any foreign business ventures.
“No one in my family will have an office in the White House, will sit in on meetings as if they are a cabinet member, will, in fact, have any business relationship with anyone that relates to a foreign corporation or a foreign country,” Joe Biden told voters.
Despite the rhetoric, however, Hunter Biden appears to have kept his ten percent stake in BHR, according to a report by the Daily Caller. That determination was made after the outlet reviewed corporation records filed with China’s National Credit Information Publicity System through two firms specializing in market research and intelligence.
Such revelations come as questions remain about how much Biden’s equity in BHR is actually worth. Biden, who claims to have never received any compensation from his service on BHR’s board, has asserted, through a family lawyer, that his stake in the firm is only worth $420,000. Ethics watchdogs, however, contend that valuation is potentially off by millions.
“It is difficult to imagine, if not incomprehensible, that a ten percent stake in those economics is worth only $420K,” Steven Kaplan, a professor at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, told FactCheck.org in October 2019.
“The distinction they appear to be making is they capitalized the management company with $4.2 [million] even if the fund manages $2 [billion],” Kaplan added at the time. “The value of that management company is likely far in excess of $4.2 [million] if they are managing $2 [billion].”
As Breitbart News has reported, Biden’s ties to the firm have long been at the center of ethical controversy. In December 2013, the younger Biden flew aboard Air Force Two with his father to Beijing. The trip was part of an official state visit the then-vice president was making to the country amid escalating tensions with the United States over islands in the South China Sea.
Although it is unclear exactly what transpired during the journey, Biden entered into a lucrative business arrangement shortly afterward. Only 12 days after the trip, Biden and his business partners inked a multibillion-dollar deal with a subsidiary of the state-owned Bank of China.
The deal, which was the first of its kind, created BHR as a private equity fund to invest Chinese money overseas. Once the fund was up and running, it invested heavily in energy and defense projects.
A number of those investments caught the attention of congressional lawmakers during the 2020 White House contest–most notably, BHR’s investment in a company blacklisted by the U.S. government for suspicion of helping the Chinese government violate human rights and the fund’s purchase of an American firm with insight into military technology in 2015. The issue was specifically controversial because the purchase of the latter required approval by the Obama administration’s Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.