Hunter Biden admitted over the weekend that his father’s political position helped him secure a lucrative appointment to the board of directors of a Ukrainian oil and gas company.
The younger Biden, who has a history of profiting from entities tied to his father, was asked during an interview with ABC News—which is set to air on Tuesday—if he would have been asked to join the board of Burisma Holdings in 2014 had his father not been the sitting vice president.
“I don’t know. I don’t know. Probably not, in retrospect,” Hunter Biden said, before admitting his family’s political prominence played a large role in all of his dealings. “But that’s—you know—I don’t think that there’s a lot of things that would have happened in my life if my last name wasn’t Biden.”
He further added that there is “literally nothing, as a young man or as a full grown adult” that his “father in some way hasn’t had influence over.”
The interview with ABC News comes as Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealings have spilled out into the open, causing a serious problem for his father’s presidential campaign. The controversy started last month when President Donald Trump suggested the Ukrainian government probe into how the younger Biden secured an appointment to Burisma’s board, shortly after his father was made the Obama administration’s point man on Ukraine.
As Peter Schweizer, senior contributor at Breitbart News, detailed in his book Secret Empires: How the American Political Class Hides Corruption and Enriches Family and Friends, Hunter Biden secured the position, which paid as much as $83,000 per month despite no background in energy or Ukraine. In fact, his background in investment banking, lobbying, and hedge fund management paled in comparison to that of current and past members of the company’s board of directors.
The timing of the appointment not only raised flags among ethics watchdogs, but also with Hunter Biden’s own business partners. Christopher Heinz, the stepson of former Secretary of State John Kerry and co-owner of an investment firm with Hunter Biden in 2014, rushed to play damage control with State Department officials at the time of the appointment, according to internal emails obtained by the Washington Examiner.
Adding to concerns is the fact that at the time Hunter Biden joined Burisma, the company was seen as actively courting western leaders to prevent further scrutiny of its business practices. The same month Hunter Biden was tapped for the group’s board, the government of Great Britain froze accounts belonging to Burisma founder, Mykola Zlochevsky, under suspicion of money laundering. Zlochevsky, a former Ukrainian minister of natural resources, would later be accused of corruption for using his office to approve oil and gas licenses to companies under his control.
It is in the context of Burisma and Zlochevsky’s legal troubles that Joe Biden’s political influence has raised the most red flags. The former vice president has particularly drawn questions over his conduct in demanding the Ukrainian government fire its top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, in 2016.
Joe Biden, who has publicly bragged about the firing, reportedly threatened to withhold more than one billion dollars in U.S. aid if the Ukrainian government did not remove Shokin. He has claimed the demand came from then-President Barack Obama, who had allegedly lost faith in the prosecutor’s ability to tackle corruption.
Unofficially, though, it was known that Shokin was investigating both Burisma and Zlochevsky for public corruption. It is uncertain if the probe extended to Hunter Biden, although Shokin has recently admitted that prior to his ouster he was warned to back off the matter.
Regardless of what occurred, Shokin’s successor dropped the investigation into Burisma and Zlochevsky, allowing the oligarch to return to the country after having fled in 2014.
During the interview with ABC over the weekend, Hunter Biden expressed regret over his “poor judgement” and the appearance of impropriety but maintained that nothing he or his father did was illegal.
“In retrospect, look, I think that it was poor judgment on my part. Is that I think that it was poor judgment because I don’t believe now, when I look back on it—I know that there was—did nothing wrong at all,” the younger Biden said. “However, was it poor judgment to be in the middle of something that is … a swamp in many ways? Yeah.”
“Did I make a mistake? Well, maybe in the grand scheme of things, yeah,” he added. “But did I make a mistake based upon some ethical lapse? Absolutely not.”