A Tuesday New York Times article confirms revelations in Peter Schweizer’s bestselling book Secret Empires regarding the $1.5 billion deal Hunter Biden’s private equity firm secured from the state-owned Bank of China while his father was vice president; however, the Times omits key details that call into question statements made by Biden’s associates about the foreign financial deals engulfing his father’s 2020 presidential campaign in scandal.
The Times’ article focuses on criticism of President Trump’s call for an investigation into the financial deals Hunter Biden’s firm secured in Ukraine and China while his father, former Vice President Joe Biden, was negotiating U.S. foreign policy with those countries. However, the article does at least acknowledge that the deals occurred.
“Hunter Biden and a business partner, Devon Archer, were involved in a fund that reportedly pursued an investment from the Chinese government-owned Bank of China,” the Times states.
The Times continues:
The fund was announced in late 2013 — days after Hunter Biden and one of his daughters flew to China from Japan aboard Air Force Two with the vice president, who was in the midst of a diplomatic mission intended to calm rising tensions in the region. During the trip, Vice President Biden warned Chinese leaders not to use fighter jets to enforce an air defense zone created by Beijing over contested waters.
The conservative author Peter Schweizer has claimed that Hunter Biden used the trip to secure a deal with the Bank of China — a claim that has been echoed by Mr. Trump’s allies in the conservative news media.
But a lawyer for Hunter Biden said he did not conduct any business related to the China investment fund on that trip, and was not an equity owner in the fund while his father was vice president. He later acquired a 10 percent interest in the entity that oversees the fund, but to date has not received any money from the arrangement, according to the lawyer.
The Times fails to note basic facts about Biden and his associates that would challenge their version of events or, at the very least, offer readers context to assess the veracity of their claims.
In June 2009, Hunter Biden teamed up with Christopher Heinz, the stepson of then-Massachusetts Senator and later Obama Secretary of State John Kerry, and a longtime Heinz-Kerry family associate Devon Archer to form an international private equity firm rooted in the investment fund Rosemont Capital.
The firm was Rosemont Seneca Partners, LLC, and was one of a series of related LLCs formed by Biden, Heinz, and Archer that branched off of Rosemont Capital. The other offshoots included Rosemont Seneca Technology Partners and Rosemont Realty.
“Of the various deals in which these Rosemont entities were involved, one of the largest and most troubling concerns Rosemont Seneca Partners,” Schweizer noted in Secret Empires.
Hunter Biden was the managing partner at Rosemont Seneca Partners.
When the firm was created in 2009, Biden and his associates eschewed headquartering the firm in the world’s financial capital of New York City and instead opted to lease space in Washington, DC, where just five months earlier Biden’s father was inaugurated as Barack Obama’s vice president and where Heinz’s stepfather chaired the powerful Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.
“Over the next seven years, as both Joe Biden and John Kerry negotiated sensitive and high-stakes deals with foreign governments, Rosemont entities secured a series of exclusive deals often with those same foreign governments,” Schweizer wrote.
For a small firm with no track record, Rosemont Seneca scored high-level meetings with officials in China over the years, with each meeting coincidentally corresponding to official meetings between Vice President Biden and Chinese leaders.
Schweizer detailed the meetings Rosemont Seneca and its business partner the Thornton Group had in China:
Less than a year after opening Rosemont Seneca’s doors, Hunter Biden and Devon Archer were in China, having secured access at the highest levels. Thornton Group’s account of the meeting on their Chinese-language website was telling: Chinese executives “extended their warm welcome” to the “Thornton Group, with its US partner Rosemont Seneca chairman Hunter Biden (second son of the now Vice President Joe Biden).”
Also, according to the Thornton Group, the three Americans met with the largest and most powerful government fund leaders in China — even though Rosemont was both new and small.
The timing of this meeting was also curious. It occurred just hours before Hunter Biden’s father, the vice president, met with Chinese President Hu in Washington as part of the Nuclear Security Summit.
There was a second known meeting with many of the same Chinese financial titans in Taiwan in May 2011. For a small firm like Rosemont Seneca with no track record, it was an impressive level of access to China’s largest financial players. And it was just two weeks after Joe Biden had opened up the US-China strategic dialogue with Chinese officials in Washington.
All of these meetings preceding Vice President Joe Biden’s important trip to Beijing in December 2013, in which Hunter Biden and his daughter Finnegan accompanied the vice president on board Air Force Two.
It is unknown if Hunter Biden met with anyone in China as he traveled with his father and the rest of the official U.S. delegation in December 2013. Schweizer noted that where Hunter Biden spent most of his time during that trip “remains largely a mystery.”
However, it is a matter of record that just 10 days after this Beijing trip, Hunter Biden’s firm Rosemont Seneca secured a $1 billion investment from the state-owned bank of China, which was later expanded to $1.5 billion. As the managing partner of Rosemont Seneca, Hunter Biden would undoubtedly have knowledge of this deal, which was a first-of-its-kind arrangement for the recently formed Shanghai Free-Trade Zone. Indeed, Hunter Biden was placed on the Board of Directors of the new Chinese entity, Bohai Harvest RST.
“Rosemont Seneca was getting something for the first time that no other Western firm had in China, a private equity cross-border investment fund formed in the Chinese government’s Shanghai Free-Trade Zone,” Schweizer wrote in Secret Empires, noting that financial giants like Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, and Blackstone did not get a deal like this, but the Chinese government decided to reward a small unknown firm managed by a man with no experience in China or private equity.
“The advantages that Biden and Heinz’s firm got were enormous,” Schweizer noted. “Along with Chinese government capital to invest, by operating from the Shanghai Free-Trade Zone they could take Chinese government funds and invest there, or take them out of the country and invest them in the United States or elsewhere. No one else had such an arrangement in China. Rosemont Seneca was essentially placed first in line.”
Though the Times’ article notes that Vice President Biden “warned” the Chinese leaders during his Beijing trip, it fails to mention the criticisms of Biden’s kid-gloves treatment of China at a time when the communist regime’s behavior was increasingly and openly menacing to U.S. allies in the region.
In an interview last year with SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Tonight, Schweizer explained why Joe Biden’s 2013 trip to Beijing came at a crucial moment for U.S.-China and why the former vice president’s decision to go “soft on China” was so controversial.
“To put this into context, in 2013, the Chinese have just exerted air rights over the South Pacific, the South China Sea,” Schweizer said. “They basically have said, ‘If you want to fly in this area, you have to get Chinese approval. We are claiming sovereignty over this territory.’ Highly controversial in Japan, in the Philippines, and in other countries. Joe Biden is supposed to be going there to confront the Chinese. Well, he gets widely criticized on that trip for going soft on China. So basically, no challenging them, and Japan and other countries are quite upset about this.”
The Hunter Biden deal appears to be in keeping with a foreign influence peddling tactic China uses to get favorable treatment from American politicians.
“The Chinese government has figured out that the way to get favorable treatment from policymakers in Washington, DC, is by, basically, signing sweetheart deals with the children of politicians because they think by doing so, they’ll get better policy positions from our government,” Schweizer said. “And the history indicates in the Obama administration that that’s exactly what happens.”
But China is not the only foreign government to have dealings with Hunter Biden’s firm.
A New York Times article three weeks ago described Hunter Biden’s lucrative dealings with a Ukrainian oligarch-owned energy company at a time when his father was mediating U.S. policy towards Ukraine. According to the Times, the natural gas firm Burisma Holdings paid Hunter Biden “as much as $50,000 per month in some months” for his work as a board member, despite the fact that he “lacked any experience in Ukraine and just months earlier had been discharged from the Navy Reserve after testing positive for cocaine.”
A Ukrainian corruption probe into Burisma Holdings was scuttled in 2016, when Vice President Biden threatened to withhold $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees to the country if the Ukrainian government did not fire the prosecutor who launched the corruption investigation. Withholding the loans would have thrown the former Soviet republic into insolvency at a time when it was fending off attacks from Vladimir Putin’s Russia.
The Times article today claims that Hunter Biden’s partner Christopher Heinz was “concerned” that Seneca Partners’ involvement in Ukraine “created the appearance of selling influence.”
“Mr. Heinz argued to Mr. Archer, who like Hunter Biden had joined Burisma’s board, that the posts created the appearance of selling influence, according to a person familiar with the conversation. Mr. Archer did not heed the advice. And Mr. Heinz, who was not involved in the China or Ukraine efforts, began decoupling his business interests from those of Mr. Biden and Mr. Archer,” the Times writes.
Heinz’s “concern” about “the appearance of selling influence” seems remarkable considering the firm’s decision in 2009 to its open office in Washington, DC, just two miles from the new Vice President’s office in the Obama White House.
In a Sunday interview with Fox News host Steve Hilton, President Trump added his voice to the chorus of those calling for an investigation into Hunter Biden’s foreign deals. He also stated that China is hoping that Biden will win the 2020 election in order to negotiate a more favorable trade deal with him.
“The reason for the China pullback & attempted renegotiation of the Trade Deal is the sincere HOPE that they will be able to ‘negotiate’ with Joe Biden or one of the very weak Democrats, and thereby continue to ripoff the United States (($500 Billion a year)) for years to come,” Trump tweeted on May 8.
At a rally in Iowa in May, the former vice president and 2020 Democratic dismissed the notion that “China is going to eat out lunch.”
“Come on, man,” Biden scoffed, adding that “they’re not bad people” and “they’re not competition for us.”
In an interview last week on Breitbart News Tonight, Schweizer was asked if Biden could be trusted to negotiate with China in light of his family’s financial ties to the communist regime.
“As far as I’m concerned, with the commercial relationships that the Biden family has with the Chinese, there is no way that that is not going have a dramatic effect on Joe Biden’s perceptions about China [and] in negotiating with the Chinese,” he said.
The New York Times article, however, argues that President Trump’s call to investigate this accusation of foreign influence peddling amounts to an abuse of office — that is, Trump abusing his office, not the former vice president who went “soft on China” at the same his son was securing financial deals with the regime considered an existential threat to U.S. security.
Schweizer, the president of the nonpartisan Government Accountability Institute and a senior editor-at-large for Breitbart News, wrote the bestselling 2015 exposé Clinton Cash, which is widely credited for its instrumental impact on Hillary Clinton’s failed 2016 presidential campaign due to Schweizer’s copious documentation of the former secretary of state’s history of amassing wealth from donors seeking favorable actions from her State Department.
Schweizer’s research on Hunter Biden has already triggered Democratic strategists worried that Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign could suffer the same fate as Clinton’s. The similarities between the two candidates are hard to dismiss: both are establishment favorites, both are Obama administration alums, and both are tainted by accusations that they used their authority as government officials to benefit their family to the potential detriment of U.S. foreign policy.
Rebecca Mansour is Senior Editor-at-Large for Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Tonight on SiriusXM Patriot channel 125, which broadcasts live weeknights from 9:00 p.m. to midnight Eastern (6-9:00 p.m. Pacific). Follow her on Twitter at @RAMansour.