Documents show Hunter Biden still controls a stake in a Chinese investment firm despite his promise to resign from the company’s board and a pledge from his father Joe Biden that no one in the family will have foreign business entanglements if he is elected in November.
The troubled son of Joe Biden, a former vice president who is now the presumptive 2020 Democratic presidential nominee, holds a 10% equity stake in the Chinese government-linked Bohai Harvest RST (Shanghai) Equity Investment Fund Management Company, according to Chinese business records first reported by the Daily Caller.
Through his lawyer, Hunter had promised to leave the board of the Chinese firm by the end of October 2019, but his resignation was only submitted to China’s National Credit Information Publicity System this spring. Two Chinese business websites run by Baidu and Qixin both show updates with Hunter’s name being removed from the BHR board of directors in April, but both also show an LLC owned solely by Hunter — Skaneateles — as still being a “sponsor/shareholder” with 3 million yuan invested in the company, purportedly comprising the 10% stake in the China-based business venture.
“We work with China’s industrial leaders, state-owned enterprises, multinational corporations, as well as with start-up visionaries in their international mergers and acquisitions, domestic restructurings and pre-IPO financings,” the Chinese BHR’s company website states, adding that, since launching in December 2013, it now manages “over RMB15 billion in assets” — the equivalent of more than $2 billion.
The business records for Skaneateles found on Washington, D.C.’s Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs website list Hunter as the “executive officer” of the company, and the address for the LLC is a multimillion-dollar home in Hollywood Hills, Los Angeles. That is where the Washington Examiner previously reported Hunter and his new wife, Melissa Cohen, had been renting a $12,000-a-month home as he was fighting a court order to disclose his financial information as part of an Arkansas paternity suit brought against him by Lunden Alexis Roberts, the mother of Biden’s young child.
The Daily Caller noted that “BHR’s business records with the NCIPS were updated on April 20 to reflect Hunter Biden’s departure from its board less than one week after the Daily Caller News Foundation reported on April 14 that his name was still listed as a member of the firm’s board at the time and that no evidence had yet surfaced to prove that Biden had actually relinquished his position with the company.”
Hunter’s lawyer, George Mesires, reached out to the Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler a few days after the April article was published, with Kessler sharing a letter from BHR’s CEO and tweeting: “Trump folks pushing a line that Hunter Biden never resigned from board, citing an apparently outdated database entry. Now Hunter Biden’s lawyer has obtained letter confirming he did resign in October, as originally reported.”
The letter, from BHR CEO Jonathan Li, was addressed to Mesires, and said simply: “Mr. Robert Hunter Biden no longer serves as an unpaid director on the board of Bohai Harvest RST (Shanghai) Equity Investment Fund Management Co., Ltd. effective from October 2019.” Yet it appears that Hunter still has a substantial financial stake in the Chinese company.
“They will not be engaged in any foreign business because of what’s happened in this administration,” Joe Biden said of Hunter Biden and brother James Biden, in an Axios on HBO interview that aired in December. “No one’s going to be seeking patents for things from China. No one’s going to be engaged in that kind of thing.”
The Biden campaign did not respond to the Washington Examiner’s request for comment about whether Hunter should have a stake in a Chinese company given that promise, and Mesires did not respond to the Washington Examiner’s questions about whether Hunter should relinquish his holdings in the Chinese firm and a request for Hunter’s resignation letter from the board.
Mesires wrote a lengthy post on Medium in mid-October claiming that Hunter “neither played a role in the formation or licensure of” BHR “nor owned any equity in it while his father was Vice President.” Hunter’s lawyer said his client “served only as a member of its board of directors, which he joined based on his interest in seeking ways to bring Chinese capital to international markets” and that “it was an unpaid position.”
“BHR was capitalized with 30 million renminbi (RMB), or approximately $4.2 million USD at today’s currency exchange rates,” Mesires said. “In October 2017, Hunter committed to invest approximately $420,000 USD (as of 10/12/2019) to acquire a 10% equity position in BHR, which he still holds. To date, Hunter has not received any compensation for being on BHR’s board of directors … Hunter intends to resign from the BHR board of directors on or by October 31, 2019.”
Hunter’s role with Chinese BHR is not his only foray into Chinese-linked business.
When Patrick Ho, a high-ranking Chinese businessman, was charged by the Justice Department with global corruption in 2017, a court filing said the first call he made after his arrest was to Joe Biden’s brother James, who thought the call was meant for Hunter.
Ho, a lieutenant to the founder of the multibillion-dollar Chinese conglomerate CEFC China Energy, was indicted under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in 2017 for a bribery scheme aimed at government officials in Africa, assisting Iranian sanctions evasion, and using the Chinese company’s connections to sell weaponry to Chad, Libya, and Qatar.
Hunter Biden agreed to represent Ho as part of his efforts to work out a liquefied natural gas deal worth tens of millions of dollars with CEFC China Energy’s leader Ye Jianming, who had ties to the Chinese Communist Party.
The lucrative deal fell apart when Ye disappeared after being detained by Chinese authorities in 2018. Ho was sentenced to three years in federal prison in March 2019.
Kathleen Biden, Hunter Biden’s ex-wife, accused him in divorce filings of “spending extravagantly on his own interests … while leaving the family with no funds to pay legitimate bills.” The filing also discusses a “large” diamond, worth $80,000, he claimed he no longer had. In a later interview, Hunter Biden said the diamond, which he claimed was only worth $10,000, was a gift from Ye.
“What would they be bribing me for? My dad wasn’t in office,” Hunter Biden told the New Yorker. “I knew it wasn’t a good idea to take it. I just felt like it was weird.”