Hunter Biden's failure to register as a foreign agent while conducting business overseas, much like former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, almost certainly violated foreign lobbying laws under the federal Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).
According to the New York Post, while Hunter registered as a lobbyist for domestic interests ("a gig which so annoyed President Obama that Biden was forced to drop it in 2008"), he never registered as a "foreign principal" under the 1938 law - a crime which carries a punishment of up to five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.
We aren't holding our breath. That said...
The Post’s examination of Biden’s infamous abandoned laptop in the last year has exposed myriad foreign business schemes the then-Vice President’s son tried to shepherd. Last week The Post revealed dozens of sit-downs between Hunter and Joe Biden that were frequently scheduled just days after Hunter visited with foreign officials. -NY Post
"The recent disclosures of additional foreign contacts has only strengthened what was already a strong case. Indeed, in the last few weeks, the compelling basis for a FARA charge has becomes unassailable and undeniable," according to law professor Jonathan Turley. "The influence peddling schemes directly reference the President and [Joe Biden] is repeatedly cited as a possible recipient of funds."
And while a CNN report from last week indicated that the DOJ is focusing on Hunter's tax issues and alleged violations of federal firearm regulations, the first son's foreign dealings have undoubtedly been part of the investigation - particularly since the Post exposed evidence of extensive foreign dealings from Hunter's "laptop from hell," which they published in October 2020 shortly before the US election.
The inquiry began as a tax probe in 2018 but has expanded considerably since a series of New York Post exposes showed how Hunter Biden’s private business interests became commingled with his father’s public career. The revelations were contained on a laptop abandoned by Hunter Biden at a Delaware computer repair shop in April 2019. -NY Post
Yet, despite potential violations of foreign lobbying laws and money laundering - insiders say Hunter could receive a "generous" plea agreement.
House Republicans, meanwhile, say that should they take back control of the chamber in the upcoming midterm elections, they'll launch their own investigation into Hunter's overseas exploits.
Let's review some of Hunter's dealings...
For starters, he worked for CCP-linked Chinese energy company CEFC, which sought to gain a foothold into the United States. After the New York Times questioned Hunter's involvement in 2018, Joe Biden left him a voicemail in which he told his son "I think you're clear."
Republicans have accused CEFC of being an arm of the Chinese government. In 2017, the year Joe Biden left the Vice Presidency, Hunter received a $1 million retainer for his services as a lawyer. CEFC official Patrick Ho was later convicted on international bribery and money laundering charges on unrelated work in Africa.
When the Hunter Biden laptop story broke in October 2020 (and was immediately suppressed by the media), the Bidens allegedly accepted a $5 million interest-free loan from CEFC that enraged their business partner, Tony Bobulinski - who flipped on the Bidens following a Senate report which revealed the $5 million 'loan.'
Text messages from Bobulinski also reveal an effort to conceal Joe Biden's involvement in Hunter's business dealings, while Tony has also confirmed that the "Big guy" described in a leaked email is none other than Joe Biden himself.
This is maybe THE clip from this interview.— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) October 28, 2020
Bobulinski to #Tucker: "I remember looking at Jim Biden in saying how are you guys getting away with this? Like, aren't you concerned? And he looked at me and he laughed a little bit and said. 'plausible deniability.'" pic.twitter.com/GMDL1JNZtB
More on Hunter's dealings from the Post:
After additional revelations from The Post in 2020, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) sent a letter to the Justice Department demanding a review of possible FARA violations. Former Hunter Biden business partner Tony Bobulinski said in public comments at the time that the Chinese saw Hunter Biden “as a political or influence investment.”
“Since then, I’ve only seen and gathered more records and information that confirm that [Hunter Biden and his uncle James Biden] are closely linked to foreign interests,” Grassley told The Post.
While Ukrainian energy company Burisma paid Hunter Biden $83,333 a month to sit on its board, Hunter Biden introduced Vadym Pozharskyi — one of the company’s top executives — to his father, emails show. Less than a year later, Vice President Biden pressured government officials in Ukraine into firing a prosecutor who was investigating the company.
Meanwhile, Hunter arranged for the former president of Columbia, Andrés Pastrana Arango, to have a sit-down with his father during a March 2, 2012 meeting.
In Nov. 2015, Hunter met with Crown Prince Alexander Karađorđević of Yugoslavia and his wife, Crown Princess Katherine of Serbia, who told the Post that they asked Hunter to 'put in a word' with his father to help rehab the royal palace in Belgrade.
"If Hunter relayed the request for US government assistance then that would be a FARA registrable event," said FARA expert Craig Engle, who leads the political law practice at Arent Fox Schiff. "Given the nature of the client, given the nature of the work, and given his relationship with Joe Biden as demonstrated on his calendar, it makes it likely that FARA is part of an investigation," he added.
Emails on Hunter's laptop also reveal concerns over FARA violations - with Eric Schwerin, president of Hunter's investment firm Rosemont Seneca Partners - discussing the issue.
"Was reading an article saying how [former White House Chief of Staff William] Daley was never a ‘registered’ lobbyist although he directed [Telecoms company] SBC and JP Morgan’s lobbying efforts. Also the article noted that he was registered as Foreign Lobbyist under FARA at one point … sometimes I wonder why we stress about this so much," Schwerin wrote to Hunter in January, 2011.
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