Joe Biden's Brother Embroiled In High-Ranking Qatari Scheme To "Provide Wealth Of Introductions" Through "My Family": Politico

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by Tyler Durden
Monday, Apr 29, 2024 - 12:25 AM

Qatar has had a lot of fingers in a lot of pies. While we knew about the EU's 'Qatargate,' investments with the Kushner family, and of course Sen. Bob Menendez advancing Qatar's interests, Politico reports that the Biden family's ties to Qatar "would constitute some of the closest known financial links between a relative of President Joe Biden and a foreign government," if courtroom testimony about Jim Biden's foreign fundraising efforts is substantiated.

POLITICO illustration/Photos by AP, Getty Images, iStock

In June 2017, Qatar's neighbors - led by Saudi Arabia, banded together and cut diplomatic ties with the country, citing its alleged support for terrorism. As a result, the country was thrown into a sustained crisis.

To dig themselves out, Qatari rulers began showering well-connected Westerners with gifts and financial benefits, according to Politico, "sometimes in the form of investment funding."

Around this time, Jim Biden was trying to raise $30 million for embattled hospital chain Americore - teaming up with Florida businessman Amer Rustom, CEO of the Platinum Group, who boasted of his ties to officials in the Middle East, as well as fund manager Michael Lewitt. Together, the three sought investment funding from various Middle Eastern sources for Americore and other ventures - "which came to focus largely on Qatar," according to a former Americore executive who spoke on condition of anonymity.

According to public records obtained by the outlet, Jim Biden leveraged ties to his older brother and "sought workarounds to restrictions on international money movements," including one discussion about trying to move money across a Middle Eastern border in the form of gold bars that may or may not have happened.

"My family could provide a wealth of introductions and business opportunities at the highest levels that I believe would be worthy of the interest of His Excellency," Jim Biden and Rustom wrote in a draft letter to an official at the Qatari sovereign wealth fund, the Qatar Investment Authority. "On behalf of the Biden family, I welcome your interest here," the draft continues.

Transactions related to the efforts are central to a recently-settled fraud case brought by the SEC, and are under fresh scrutiny as part of a federal criminal investigation in South Florida.

Jim Biden suggested to congressional investigators in February that his fundraising efforts stalled for lack of viable projects to back. But the previously unreported testimony by fund manager Michael Lewitt about the ownership of the two companies — the Platinum Group USA and Obermeyer Engineering Consulting — indicates that Jim Biden forged closer ties to Qatar’s government than previously understood. -Politico

In February of this year, Jim Biden told impeachment inquiry investigators that roughly $600,000 in payments from Americore were for his role in arranging a series of bridge loans - of which $200,000 was transferred to Joe Biden in March 2018 for what the White House claims is a repayment of an unrelated loan between brothers.

In a March 10, 2018 draft presentation emailed from Jim Biden’s wife, Sara Biden, to a Platinum Group executive, Julie Lander, Americore touted Jim as "Brother and Campaign Finance Chair of former Vice President Joe Biden."

One month later, Lander emailed Jim Biden about the fundraising efforts - referencing an apparent meeting with a high-ranking Qatari official.

Through a spokesperson, Jim Biden’s lawyer, Paul Fishman (left), said “Jim Biden is not being investigated by federal law enforcement in Florida or Pennsylvania.” | Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

"I am following up from the meeting we had with the Minister," wrote Lander. "Your approach with him was flawless. He requested more information on Americore."

In the previously unreported email, Lander suggested a potential request of $200 million and asked Jim Biden to provide more information on the potential benefits to Qatar of an investment deal.

Lander’s email came five days after a large delegation of Qatari officials and business leaders visited Miami. It is not clear which minister Lander, who did not respond to requests for comments, was referring to. -Politico


Despite Lander's upbeat email to Jim Biden, fundraising efforts hit a 'series of snags,' according to Politico's anonymous former Americore source, who said that they were facing restrictions on moving investment funds across borders, and that the former executive "recalled discussion at one point of trying to move money across a Middle Eastern border in the form of gold bars, but said they were not aware of any action taken on the idea."

In order to solve their problem, Jim Biden explored working with payment processing company "Billerfy," described as an "open network for global payments," for which Jim Biden could be their "chief global banking emissary" - until Americore's outside counsel, Christopher Anderson, shot it down. 

With progress in Qatar slowing in mid-May of 2018 during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, tensions grew between Jim Biden and his comrades - with Jim Biden venting to Americore CEO Grant White in a May 17 email that he had "agreed to go to Qatar, Saudi Arabia and China (at my own expense)."

A week later, Jim Biden complained to Rustom over the unsecured funds - writing that "The $30 million was committed to over two months ago and we made moves predicated on that available line of credit," adding "Things have happened in the interim that are completely understandable, but the fact remains that the $5 million at this point in time is critical in order to get by for the big picture."

Then in late June, Lewitt emailed Jim Biden and White about trying to move money from Dubai to Qatar, referencing an unspecified "blockage" that was hindering the process.

"Amer would like me to join Jim for the presentation to the Finance Minister in Doha so as soon as we have the date I will plan my travel," the email concluded.

The former Americore executive said that Jim Biden and Lewitt traveled to Qatar in mid-2018 as part of the fundraising efforts, but it is not clear whether any meeting between Jim Biden and Qatar’s then-finance minister, Ali Sharif Al Emadi, took place.

Al Emadi left his post in 2021 after Qatar’s attorney general ordered him arrested on suspicion of corruption. In January, Reuters reported that he was convicted on charges that included laundering more than $5 billion and sentenced to 20 years in prison. -Politico

Efforts to secure funding continued into August of 2018, as Jim Biden continued to work with Lewitt and Rustom to secure financing from the Qatar Investment Authority for other health care ventures, according to filings in a since-settled federal court case in Tennessee in which the three were named as co-defendants.

As they continued to work together, Jim Biden's financial ties to Lewitt deepened - with Lewitt's investment fund, Third Friday, paying Jim Biden's company, Lion Hall Groujp, $225,000 over the course of 2019. While Biden testified that this was a forgiven loan, Lewitt disputed it - telling Politico that Jim Biden's debt was assumed by an unnamed third party.

At the end of the day, Qatar and everyone else balked at the deal.

"We weren’t able to show the financial bona fides of any one particular project," said Jim Biden during his impeachment inquiry interview. "We got pretty far down the road on several hotel complexes, but they never came to fruition."

Meanwhile, in 2022, investors in Third Friday sued Lewitt, accusing him of embezzlement through Americore to Jim Biden and others. Lewitt has denied wrongdoing in the ongoing case, while Jim Biden has not been named a defendant.

Lastly, the partners are now locked in a bitter legal dispute. During the course of Americore's bankruptcy litigation, documents produced by Lewitt included an agreement between his fund and a Delaware company, Obermeyer Engineering Consulting - which calls for Obermeyer to purchase Third Friday's loans to Americore, along with a 35% stake in the hospital chain, for $30 million.

The agreement includes a signature from Azzam Rustom as Obermeyer’s "authorized signatory," which Amer Rustom - Obermayer's 'manager,' contested - saying it the signature was faked.

Lewitt said during testimony that Amer Rustom 'verbally authorized' him to fake his signature on the disputed documents.

Towards the end of the hearing Lewitt was asked why, if the agreements he produced were valid, the Rustoms were contesting them.

Lewitt testified that the Rustoms owned both Obermeyer and the Platinum Group with “members of the Qatari government.” He speculated that the brothers had not cleared the agreements with the Qatari officials, whom he did not name. “I don’t think they expected these to become public,” he testified, “and I think they were trying to cover themselves.” -Politico

According to the judge in the case, "Where there’s smoke, there’s fire," adding "and this is a black haze right now."