Recently made public Secret Service records indicate that Hunter Biden, the youngest son of former Vice President Joe Biden, did not travel to Ukraine prior to his appointment to the board of directors of Burisma Holdings, one of the country’s top energy conglomerates.
The documents, which were received through a Freedom of Information Act request by the conservative-leaning group Judicial Watch, show the younger Biden took 411 domestic and international flights between 2009 and 2014. The secret service provided protection for Biden on each of those flights and potentially more, as the records only cover the period from June 2009 to May 2014.
Listed among the destinations were 29 foreign countries, including five visits to China alone, as well as trips to Russia and Qatar. The records, however, indicate Biden did not travel to Ukraine, at least not with secret service protection, before his appointment to Burisma’s board in April 2014.
It is unclear if Biden went to Ukraine without secret service protection prior to his appointment. It is unlikely, though, as he frequently utilized the federal agency for security when traveling to potentially dangerous locales for business.
This was exhibited when Biden had an entourage of secret service agents accompany him to the Philippines in December 2013, while serving as chairman of the World Food Program, USA. As the Washington Free Beacon reported in March, Biden’s travel and the Secret Service protection required cost United States taxpayers nearly $200,000 throughout his father’s tenure in the vice presidency.
The revelations that the secret service has no record of a Biden visiting Ukraine prior to his appointment with Burisma comes as the company is facing a congressional investigation in Washington, D.C., and perhaps more pressing trouble at home.
Earlier this month, Ukrainian law enforcement officials announced they had seized more than $5 million in what is alleged to be a bribery scheme perpetrated to benefit Mykola Zlochevsky, Burisma’s founder. According to reports, three suspects, who all have ties to Zlochvesky, attempted to bribe anti-corruption officials investigating Burisma and its founder for embezzlement.
Even though the head of Ukraine’s national anti-corruption bureau claimed the alleged scheme was not connected with either Biden or his father, the presumptive Democrat nominee, it brought back into the spotlight lingering questions over potential conflicts of interest.
Biden joined Burisma’s board of directors in April 2014, around the same time his father was tapped to be the Obama administration’s point man on Ukraine. Despite having no background in either eastern Europe or the energy industry, Biden was paid as much $83,000-per-month for his services.
Adding to concerns was that he joined the company at a time when it was actively courting western leaders to prevent scrutiny of its business practices. The same month of the appointment, Zlochevsky had his assets frozen in the United Kingdom on suspicion of money laundering.
A Ukrainian official with ties to Zlochevsky admitted in October 2019 the only reason Biden was tapped to join Burisma was to “protect” the company from foreign scrutiny.
It is in the context of Burisma and Zlochevsky’s legal troubles that Joe Biden’s influence has raised 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. The demand for Shokin’s ouster was tied to more than $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees.
The former vice president, who has publicly bragged about the firing, 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 that probe extended to Biden, although Shokin has claimed that prior to his ouster, he was warned to back off the matter. Regardless of what occurred, Shokin’s successor, who is now himself being investigated for public corruption, dropped the investigation into Burisma.
Biden remained on the company’s board until his term expired in April 2019. During his tenure, Burisma wired millions of dollars to a Morgan Stanley bank account controlled by the younger Biden and his business associates. Between November 2014 and November 2015 alone, Burisma transferred more than $3.5 million to the account.
Neither Hunter Biden nor his father’s campaign returned requests for comment on this story.