Hunter Biden is the son of former US Vice President Joe Biden, who is going to compete for the presidency in 2020 with Donald Trump. One of the most frequently mentioned names in the media, especially this week.
What's all the fuss about?
It all started with the publication of American media, citing a source from intelligence, saying that US President Donald Trump allegedly urged his Ukrainian counterpart to initiate an investigation against Biden’s son. The phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky talk took place on July 25.
At the same time, quite a few outlets claimed that Trump allegedly blackmailed Ukraine by delaying the allocation of military assistance.
Democrats in the United States demanded Trump to declassify a transcript of his conversation with Zelensky. And Trump ordered to publish the transcript.
What's in the long haul?
The White House has released the transcript of the conversation. Trump did mention Biden, but did not talk about any suspension of military assistance.
He drew the attention of the President of Ukraine to the suspension of the investigation against Hunter Biden.
"There's a lot of talk about Biden's son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it... It sounds horrible to me," Trump said over the telephone.
Who is Hunter Biden?
- He is a son of Joe Biden and his first wife, Neilia Hunter. In 1972, Hunter Biden's mother and his sister died in a car accident.
- He received a Bachelor's Degree at Georgetown University. Next was studies at Yale Law School, where he received a Doctorate in Law.
- He worked as Senior Vice President of MBNA America Bank company, issuing credit cards.
- Later Hunter held position of Director of Electronic Commerce in the U.S. Department of Commerce.
- From 2006 to 2009, Biden was a member of the Board of Directors, and from 2007 to 2009 - Vice President of the state railway company Amtrak.
On May 12, 2014, he was appointed a member of the Board of Burisma Holding, a gas producer in Ukraine.
What is known of Burisma?
Burisma is one of the largest natural gas companies in Ukraine. It was created in 2002 by at that time businessman Mykola Zlochevsky and, as the media write, was registered with the Cyprus offshore company Brociti Investments Limited.
In 2010, Zlochevsky became the Minister of Ecology of Ukraine, and four years later he left the country after several criminal cases were opened against him and his companies on suspicion of tax evasion and money laundering.
Hunter Biden worked at Burisma until 2019.
A company press release published after his appointment said that Biden would “be in charge of the Holding's legal unit and will provide support for the Company among international organizations."
Some American media believed that the appointment was a conflict of interest, since at that time Hunter Biden’s father was actively working in the Ukrainian direction (in particular, he helped in the implementation of reforms and “pushed” the fight against corruption).
However, there were different opinions: some believed that the appointment of Hunter Biden was a “show” aimed at emphasizing the cooperation with the United States in contrast to Russia.
According to Hunter Biden, he talked with his father about Burisma just once and did not go into the details of the deal. And Joe Biden claimed that he found out about the appointment of his son from the news.
Here comes Shokin…
During a conversation between Zelensky and Trump, the resignation of Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin (who is trying to return to position through the Supreme Court) was mentioned.
Shokin was dealing with Zlochevsky case, and also opened a case against his companies, instructing the Prosecutor’s Office to investigate the grounds for issuing gas production licenses.
As a result, it was Joe Biden who got Shokin resigned, as the ex-Vice President said himself in March 2016 at a meeting of the Council on Foreign Relations.
He demanded “to get rid of the corrupt prosecutor” threatening that otherwise the U.S. could withhold a billion-dollar loan guarantee for Ukraine.
Biden said he gave Ukrainian government officials a six-hour window before he would leave Ukraine and said, “If the prosecutor’s not fired, you’re not getting the money.”
However, some media agencies claimed that at that time the case against Burisma had already been closed, and Biden’s intervention did not change anything.
Hunter is not guilty
Another Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko has stated this.
“From the point of view of Ukrainian law, he did not violate anything,” Lutsenko commented on Hunter Biden’s activities in Ukraine.
Everything seems to be just starting in the United States, and the clash of Democrats and Republicans “over the conversation of Trump and Zelensky" is gaining momentum.
Concerning Burisma. According to Ukrainian News sources, the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) is not investigating any criminal proceedings against Burisma group of companies and the son of former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden Hunter, but it is investigating two cases against former Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources Mykola Zlochevsky.
At the same time, based on the transcript of the conversation between Trump and Zelensky, the latter promised that the new prosecutor general of Ukraine will investigate the case in which Hunter Biden appears.