Two years of investigations by journalist Peter Schweizer has revealed that Joe Biden may now have a serious China problem. And just like his Ukraine scandal, it involves actions which helped his son Hunter, who was making hand over fist in both countries.
Schweizer, the author of Clinton Cash and now Secret Empires discovered that in 2013, then-Vice President Biden and his son Hunter flew together to China on Air Force Two - and two weeks later, Hunter's firm inked a private equity deal for $1 billion with a subsidiary of the Chinese government's Bank of China, which expanded to $1.5 billion, according to an article by Schweizer's in the New York Post.
"If it sounds shocking that a vice president would shape US-China policy as his son — who has scant experience in private equity — clinched a coveted billion-dollar deal with an arm of the Chinese government, that’s because it is" -Peter Schweizer
Perhaps this is why Joe Biden - now on the 2020 campaign trail - said last week that China wasn't a threat.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo took a shot at Biden's comment during a speech at the Claremont Institute's 40th anniversary gala, saying "Look how both parties now are on guard against the threat that China presents to America -- maybe except Joe Biden."
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at Claremont Institute's 40th anniversary gala: "Look how both parties now are on guard against the threat that China presents to America -- maybe except Joe Biden." pic.twitter.com/f4X3PpVm0E— The Hill (@thehill) May 13, 2019
Back to Hunter...
Schweizer connects the dots, writing that "without the aid of subpoena power, here's what we know:"
- Hunter Biden and his partners created several LLCs involved in multibillion-dollar private equity deals with Chinese government-owned entities.
- The primary operation was Rosemont Seneca Partners - an investment firm founded in 2009 and controlled by Hunter Biden, John Kerry's stepson Chris Heinz, and Heniz's longtime associate Devon Archer. The trio began making deals "through a series of overlapping entities" under Rosemont.
- In less than a year, Hunter Biden and Archer met with top Chinese officials in China, and partnered with the Thornton Group - a Massachusetts-based consultancy headed by James Bulger - son of famed mob hitman James "Whitey" Bulger.
- According to the Thornton Group's Chinese-language website, Chinese executives "extended their warm welcome" to the "Thornton Group, with its US partner Rosemont Seneca chairman Hunter Biden (second son of the now Vice President Joe Biden."
- Officially, the China meets were to "explore the possibility of commercial cooperation and opportunity," however details of the meeting were not published to the English-language version of the website.
- "The timing of this meeting was also notable. It occurred just hours before Hunter Biden’s father, the vice president, met with Chinese President Hu Jintao in Washington as part of the Nuclear Security Summit," according to Schweizer.
- Perhaps most damning in terms of timing and optics, just twelve days after Hunter and Joe Biden flew on Air Force Two to Beijing, Hunter's company signed a "historic deal with the Bank of China," described by Schweizer as "the state-owned financial behemoth often used as a tool of the Chinese government." To accommodate the deal, the Bank of China created a unique type of investment fund called Bohai Harvest RST (BHR). According to BHR, Rosemont Seneca Partners is a founding partner.
It was an unprecedented arrangement: the government of one of America’s fiercest competitors going into business with the son of one of America’s most powerful decisionmakers.
Chris Heinz claims neither he nor Rosemont Seneca Partners, the firm he had part ownership of, had any role in the deal with Bohai Harvest. Nonetheless, Biden, Archer and the Rosemont name became increasingly involved with China. Archer became the vice chairman of Bohai Harvest, helping oversee some of the fund’s investments. -New York Post
National Security implications
As Schweizer also notes, BHR became an "anchor investor" in the IPO of China General Nuclear Power Corp (CGN) in December 2014. The state-owned energy company is involved with the construction of nuclear reactors.
In April 2016, CGN was charged by the US Justice Department with stealing nuclear secrets from the United States, which prosecutors warned could cause "significant damage to our national security." CNG was interested in sensitive, American-made nuclear components that resembled those used on US nuclear submarines, according to experts.
More China dealings
It doesn't stop there. While Hunter Biden had "no experience in China, and little in private equity," the Chinese government for some reason thought it would be a great idea to give his firm business opportunities instead of established global banks such as Morgan Stanley or Goldman Sachs.
Also in December 2014, a Chinese state-backed conglomerate called Gemini Investments Limited was negotiating and sealing deals with Hunter Biden’s Rosemont on several fronts. That month, it made a $34 million investment into a fund managed by Rosemont.
The following August, Rosemont Realty, another sister company of Rosemont Seneca, announced that Gemini Investments was buying a 75 percent stake in the company. The terms of the deal included a $3 billion commitment from the Chinese, who were eager to purchase new US properties. Shortly after the sale, Rosemont Realty was rechristened Gemini Rosemont.
Chinese executives lauded the deal. -New York Post
"Rosemont, with its comprehensive real-estate platform and superior performance history, was precisely the investment opportunity Gemini Investments was looking for in order to invest in the US real estate market," said Li Ming, chairman of Sino-Ocean Land Holdings Limited and Gemini Investments. "We look forward to a strong and successful partnership."
That partnership planned to use Chinese money to scoop up US properties.
"We see great opportunities to continue acquiring high-quality real estate in the US market," said one company executive, who added: "The possibilities for this venture are tremendous."
Then, in 2015, BHR partnered with a subsidiary of Chinese state-owned military aviation contractor Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) in order to purchase American precision-parts maker Henniges - a transaction which required approval from the Committee of Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), the same rubber-stamp committee that approved the Uranium One deal.
Tying it back to Ukraine
While we have previously reported on the Bidens' adventures in Ukraine, Schweizer connects the dots rather well here...
Consider the facts. On April 16, 2014, White House records show that Devon Archer, Hunter Biden’s business partner in the Rosemont Seneca deals, made a private visit to the White House for a meeting with Vice President Biden. Five days later, on April 21, Joe Biden landed in Kiev for a series of high-level meetings with Ukrainian officials. The vice president was bringing with him highly welcomed terms of a United States Agency for International Development program to assist the Ukrainian natural-gas industry and promises of more US financial assistance and loans. Soon the United States and the International Monetary Fund would be pumping more than $1 billion into the Ukrainian economy.
The next day, there was a public announcement that Archer had been asked to join the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian natural-gas company. Three weeks after that, on May 13, it was announced that Hunter Biden would join, too. Neither Biden nor Archer had any background or experience in the energy sector. -New York Post
Hunter was paid as much as $50,000 per month while Burisma was under investigation by officials in both Ukraine and elsewhere.
Then Joe Biden threatened to withhold $1 billion in US loan guarantees to Ukraine unless President Petro Poroshenko fired his head prosecutor, General Viktor Shokin, who was leading a wide-ranging corruption investigation into natural gas firm Burisma Holdings.
Biden bragged about the threat last year, telling an audience at the Council on Foreign Relations: "I said, ‘You’re not getting the billion.’ I’m going to be leaving here in, I think it was about six hours. I looked at them and said: ‘I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money,’" bragged Biden, recalling the conversation with Poroshenko.
"Well, son of a bitch, he got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time."
Joe Biden says that he had no idea Hunter was on the board of Burisma (for two years after he joined), and that the two never spoke about the Burisma investigation. The former VP claims that Shokin's removal was required due to his mishandling of several cases in Ukraine.
As we head into the 2020 elections, it will be interesting to see how Joe Biden dances around his son's lucrative - and very potentially daddy-assisted deals around the world.