The Obama administration allowed then-Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter to continue working at Ukrainian gas firm Burisma, even after U.S. officials established “strong” evidence suggesting that the company had engaged in corrupt activities in 2014, Just the News reported Monday, citing State Department memos and interviews.
Hunter, the son of now-Democrat presidential nominee Joe Biden, served on Burisma Holding’s board of directors from April 2014 to April 2019, getting paid tens of thousands of dollars each month, more than the average executives with similar positions.
The U.S. investigators reportedly believed Burisma paid a $7 million bribe to local prosecutors between May and December 2014.
According to the State memos, U.S. officials’ concerns about the bribe came to light in January 2015, only months after Burisma hired Hunter and following the opening of two significant corruption probes against the gas firm by investigators in Ukraine and Britain, respectively.
At the time of Hunter’s hiring by Burisma, then-VP Joe Biden was in charge of U.S. policy towards Ukraine, prompting allegations of corruption.
Joe has acknowledged that it “looked bad” that Hunter held a lucrative seat on Burisma’s board while he was in charge of Ukraine policy. Still, the former vice president denied any ethical lapse in judgment by him or his son.
Officials from Obama’s Department of State and Justice (DOJ) reportedly told the FBI about Burisma paying the bribe, but it is unclear if the agency even bothered to investigate the allegation, Just the News learned from current and former American and Ukrainian government officials.
On Monday, Just the News reported:
Just eight months after Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter joined the board of Burisma Holdings [in April 2014], U.S. officials in Kiev developed evidence that the Ukrainian gas company may have paid a $7 million bribe to the local prosecutors investigating the firm for corruption, according to interviews and State Department memos.
The [bribe] anecdote, buried in five-year-old diplomatic files, provides a fresh illustration of the awkward, uncomfortable conflict of interest State officials perceived as they tried to fight pervasive corruption in Ukraine under Joe Biden’s leadership while the vice president’s son collected large payments as a board member for an energy firm widely viewed as corrupt.
Ukrainian officials reportedly denied receiving any bribe.
Echoing some State officials, Senate GOP investigators have expressed concern that Hunter’s ties to Burisma posed a conflict of interest for the Obama administration while his father directed America’s Ukraine policy.
Sens. Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) are reportedly getting ready to wrap up their investigations into Hunter’s lucrative dealings with Burisma.
Although the State Department memos failed to mention Hunter and his role at Burisma, a top State official testified before House impeachment investigators in October 2019 that the Obama administration was aware that the former VP’s son was working at a company believed to be corrupt.
In his deposition, George Kent, a top State official mentioned in the memos unveiled Monday, reportedly said that U.S. officials warned the Obama administration that Burisma “was corrupt” while Hunter worked there, but the former VP’s office dismissed his concerns.
Kent also warned that Hunter’s position at a Ukrainian company that the American government believed to be corrupt at a time when his father led U.S. policy on Ukraine posed a “conflict of interest.”
In early 2018, the former VP boasted about threatening to withhold $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees to Ukraine as VP in 2016 if the Eastern European country did not fire its top prosecutor, who wanted to investigate the owner of Burisma for corruption.
Until April 2019, Hunter served on the board of Burisma for up to $83,000 per month despite having no background in energy, prompting allegations of corruption.
Hunter admitted to ABC News that his father’s political position helped him secure the lucrative appointment to Burisma’s board of directors.