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Hunter Biden

Hunter Biden

American lawyer, investment advisor, and second son of former Vice President Joe Biden
Hunter Biden
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro American lawyer, investment advisor, and second son of former Vice President Joe Biden
Is Lawyer Businessperson
From United States of America
Type Business Law
Gender male
Birth 4 February 1970, Wilmington, New Castle County, Delaware, USA
Age 50 years
Star sign Aquarius
Politics Democratic Party
Family
Mother: Neilia Hunter
Father: Joe Biden
Siblings: Beau Biden
Education
Georgetown University Bachelor of Arts
Yale Law School Juris Doctor
The details

Biography

Robert Hunter Biden (born February 4, 1970) is an American lawyer and investment advisor who is the second son of former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden. He is a founding partner of Rosemont Seneca Partners, an investment and advisory firm.

Biden served on the board of Burisma Holdings, a major Ukrainian natural gas producer, from 2014 to 2019. He has been the subject of debunked right-wing conspiracy theories concerning his business dealings in Ukraine.

Early life

Biden was born on February 4, 1970, in Wilmington, Delaware. He is the second son of Neilia Biden (née Hunter) and Joe Biden, who served in the United States Senate from 1973 to 2009 and as Vice President of the United States from 2009 to 2017. Hunter Biden's mother and younger sister, Naomi, were killed in an automobile crash on December 18, 1972. Biden and his older brother Beau were also seriously injured. Hunter and Beau Biden later encouraged their father to marry again, and Jill Jacobs became Hunter and Beau's stepmother in 1977. Biden's half-sister, Ashley, was born in 1981.

Like his father and brother, Biden attended Archmere Academy, a Catholic high school in Claymont, Delaware. In 1992, he graduated from Georgetown University with a bachelor's degree in history. During the year after he graduated from college, he served as a Jesuit volunteer at a church in Portland, Oregon, where he met Kathleen Buhle, whom he married in 1993. After attending Georgetown University Law Center for one year, he transferred to Yale Law School, graduating in 1996.

Early career

Biden graduated from law school in 1996 and took a position at MBNA America, a major bank holding company which was also a major contributor to his father's political campaigns. By 1998, Biden had risen to the rank of executive vice president. From 1998 to 2001, he served in the United States Department of Commerce, focusing on ecommerce policy. Biden became a lobbyist in 2001, co-founding the firm of Oldaker, Biden & Belair. According to Adam Entous of The New Yorker, Biden and his father established a relationship in which "Biden wouldn't ask Hunter about his lobbying clients, and Hunter wouldn't tell his father about them." In 2006, Biden and his uncle, James Biden, attempted to buy Paradigm, a hedge-fund group, but the deal fell apart before completion. That same year he was appointed by President George W. Bush to a five-year term on the board of directors of Amtrak. He was a board member from July 2006 until he resigned in February 2009, and the board's vice chairman from July 2006 to January 2009, leaving both roles shortly after his father became vice president. Biden said during his father's vice presidential campaign that it was time for his lobbying activities to end.

Investor and lobbyist

Biden is an investment professional with an interest in early stage investments in technology companies. In 2009, Biden, Devon Archer, and Christopher Heinz founded the investment and advisory firm Rosemont Seneca. He also founded Eudora Global, a venture capital firm. He held the position of counsel in the law firm Boies Schiller Flexner LLP in 2014.

BHR Partners

In 2013, Rosemont Seneca Partners, an investment firm in which Biden is a founding partner, along with US-based Thornton Group LLC and two asset managers registered in China, established BHR Partners, a private equity fund. The Chinese registered asset managers are BOC International Holdings-backed Bohai Industrial Investment Fund Management and Deutsche Bank-backed Harvest Fund Management. The PE fund invests Chinese capital in venture capital investments in tech startups like an early stage investment in DiDi, a Chinese car hailing app, and cross-border acquisitions in automotive and mining like the purchase of a stake in Tenke Fungurume Mining, a copper and cobalt producer in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

In September 2019, President Trump falsely claimed that Biden "walk[ed] out of China with $1.5 billion in a fund" and earned "millions" of dollars from the BHR deal, while Trump was also accusing Biden of malfeasance in Ukraine. Trump publicly called on China to investigate Hunter Biden's business activities there while his father was vice president. On October 13, 2019, citing "the barrage of false charges" by the President, Hunter Biden announced his resignation from the Board of Directors for BHR Partners effective at the end of the month. According to his lawyer, Biden had "not received any compensation for being on BHR's board of directors," nor had he received any return on his equity share in BHR. Biden's lawyer, George Mesires, told The Washington Post that BHR Partners had been "capitalized from various sources with a total of 30 million RMB [Chinese Renminbi], or about $4.2 million, not $1.5 billion."

Burisma Holdings

In April 2014, after the Ukrainian revolution, Biden joined the board of Burisma Holdings, one of the largest independent natural gas producers in Ukraine owned by Ukrainian oligarch and former politician Mykola Zlochevsky who faced a money laundering investigation at that time. Biden, then an attorney with Boies Schiller Flexner, was hired to help Burisma with corporate governance best practices, and a consulting firm in which Biden is a partner was also retained by Burisma. Chris Heinz, John Kerry's stepson, opposed his partners Devon Archer and Hunter Biden joining the board in 2014 due to the reputational risk. Biden served on the board of Burisma until his term expired in April 2019, receiving compensation of up to $50,000 per month in some months. Because Vice President Biden played a major role in U.S. policy towards Ukraine, some Ukrainian anti-corruption advocates and Obama administration officials expressed concern that Hunter Biden's having joined the board could create the appearance of a conflict of interest and undermine Vice President Biden's anti-corruption work in Ukraine. While serving as vice president, Joe Biden joined other Western leaders in encouraging the government of Ukraine to fire the country's top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, who was widely criticized for blocking corruption investigations. The Ukrainian parliament voted to remove Shokin in March 2016.

In 2019, President Donald Trump and his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, claimed that Vice President Biden had actually sought the dismissal of Shokin in order to protect his son and Burisma Holdings. There is no evidence, however, that this was what happened, and it was the official policy of the United States and the European Union to seek Shokin's removal. There has also been no evidence produced of wrongdoing done by Hunter Biden in Ukraine. The Ukrainian anti-corruption investigation agency stated in September 2019 that the current investigation of Burisma was restricted solely to investigating the period of 2010 to 2012, before Hunter Biden joined Burisma in 2014. Shokin in May 2019 claimed that he was fired because he had been actively investigating Burisma, but U.S. and Ukrainian officials have stated that the investigation into Burisma was dormant at the time of Shokin's dismissal. Ukrainian and United States State Department sources have maintained that Shokin was fired for failing to address corruption, including within his office.

In July 2019, Trump ordered the freezing of $391 million in military aid shortly before a telephone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in which Trump asked Zelensky to initiate an investigation of the Bidens. Trump falsely told Zelensky that "[Joe] Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution" of his son; Joe Biden did not stop any prosecution, did not brag about doing so, and there is no evidence his son was ever under investigation. On September 24, 2019, the United States House of Representatives initiated a formal impeachment inquiry against Trump on the grounds that he may have sought to use U.S. foreign aid and the Ukrainian government to damage Joe Biden's 2020 presidential campaign.

Ukrainian prosecutor general Yuriy Lutsenko said in May 2019 that Hunter Biden had not violated Ukrainian law. After Lutsenko was replaced by Ruslan Riaboshapka as prosecutor general, Lutsenko and Ryaboshapka said in September and October 2019 respectively that they had seen no evidence of wrongdoing by Hunter Biden.

During 2019 and into 2020, Republican senators Ron Johnson and Chuck Grassley quietly investigated Biden's involvement with Burisma, as well as allegations that Democrats colluded with the Ukrainian government to interfere in the 2016 election. Republican senator Richard Burr, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, privately expressed concerns to the senators that their inquiries could assist efforts by Russian intelligence to spread disinformation to disrupt American domestic affairs. American intelligence officials briefed senators in late 2019 about Russian efforts to frame Ukraine for 2016 election interference. Johnson said he would release findings in spring 2020, as Democrats would be selecting their 2020 presidential nominee, but instead ramped up the investigation at Trump's urging in May 2020, after it became clear Biden would be the nominee. Trump tweeted a press report about the investigations, later stating that he would make allegations of corruption by the Bidens a central theme of his re-election campaign. In March 2020, Johnson decided against issuing a subpoena for former Ukrainian official Andrii Telizhenko, a Giuliani associate who had made appearances on the pro-Trump cable channel One America News, after the FBI briefed him about concerns Telizhenko could be spreading Russian disinformation. CNN reported that Vladislav Davidzon, the editor of Ukrainian magazine The Odessa Review, told CNN that in 2018 Telizhenko offered him money to lobby Republican senators in support of pro-Russian television stations in Ukraine.

In June 2020, former Ukrainian prosecutor general Ruslan Riaboshapka stated that an audit of thousands of old case files he had ordered in October 2019 had found no wrongdoing by Hunter Biden. Riaboshapka was described by Zelensky as "100 percent my person" during the July 2019 call in which Trump asked him to investigate Biden.

In May 2020, Ukrainian lawmaker Andrii Derkach, an associate of Rudy Giuliani with links to Russian intelligence, released alleged snippets of recordings of Joe Biden speaking with Petro Poroshenko, the Ukrainian president during the years Hunter Biden worked for Burisma. The recordings, which were not verified as authentic and appeared heavily edited, depicted Biden linking loan guarantees for Ukraine to the ouster of the country's prosecutor general. The recordings did not provide evidence to support the ongoing conspiracy theory that Biden wanted the prosecutor fired to protect his son. Poroshenko denied In June 2020 that Joe Biden ever approached him about Burisma. In September 2020, the US Treasury Department sanctioned Derkach, stating he "has been an active Russian agent for over a decade, maintaining close connections with the Russian Intelligence Services." The Treasury Department added Derkach "waged a covert influence campaign centered on cultivating false and unsubstantiated narratives concerning U.S. officials in the upcoming 2020 Presidential Election," including by the release of "edited audio tapes and other unsupported information with the intent to discredit U.S. officials."

On June 14, 2020, the Fox News website ran a story entitled "Massive bribe to stop Ukraine probe of Burisma founder intercepted." The story began with a prominent, nearly three-minute video about purported scandals surrounding the Bidens, with a caption reading, "Hunter Biden scandals explained." However, the bribe allegation did not involve Hunter Biden, which was mentioned in the third paragraph of the story. The bribe related to a case of embezzling state money given to a bank.

CEFC China Energy

Biden helped Chinese businessman Ye Jianming negotiate a deal for Ye's company CEFC China Energy to make a $40 million investment in a liquefied natural gas project at Monkey Island, Louisiana. Ye gifted Biden a 2.8 carat diamond, which Biden said he gave away. Biden agreed to legally represent Ye's deputy, Patrick Ho, for investigations in the United States. Ho was eventually arrested and jailed in the U.S. for bribery. In 2018, the CEFC deal collapsed after Ye was detained in China, reportedly for corruption.

Naval career

In May 2013, Biden's application for a position in the U.S. Navy Reserve was approved. At age 43, Biden was accepted as part of a program that allows a limited number of applicants with desirable skills to receive commissions and serve in staff positions. He received an age-related waiver and a waiver due to a past drug-related incident, and was sworn in as a direct commission officer. Joe Biden administered his commissioning oath in a White House ceremony.

The following month, Biden tested positive for cocaine during a urinalysis test and was subsequently discharged. Biden attributed the result to smoking cigarettes he had accepted from other smokers, only later suspecting they had been laced with the drug. He chose not to appeal the matter as it was unlikely that the panel would believe his explanation given his history with drugs, and also due to the likelihood of news leaking to the press, though it was ultimately revealed to The Wall Street Journal by a Navy official who provided information to the newspaper on condition of anonymity.

Personal life

Biden (center) with family at his brother Beau's funeral

Biden married Kathleen Buhle in 1993, and they have three children, Naomi, Finnegan, and Maisy. The couple separated in 2015 and divorced in 2017. In 2016, he began dating Hallie Biden, the widow of his brother, Beau; they ended their relationship by late 2017 or early 2018. Biden is also the father of a child born to Lunden Alexis Roberts in Arkansas in August 2018, having “initially den[ied] the existence of a previous sexual relationship.” In May 2019, Biden married Melissa Cohen, a South African filmmaker. Their son was born in March 2020 in Los Angeles.

Biden spent decades struggling with alcohol and drug addiction. He said, "There's addiction in every family. I was in that darkness. I was in that tunnel—it's a never-ending tunnel. You don't get rid of it. You figure out how to deal with it."

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 23 Sep 2020. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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Reference sources
References
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