In recent weeks, scandalous stories following an alleged leak of Hunter Biden’s iCloud account have added further pain to his father’s administration, which is already suffering from dwindling public support and mounting political pressure.
Some of the information surrounding this “leak” has already been debunked as manufacturing, but the recognition of the leak by the security services shows that it is valued seriously. It’s yet another Hunter puzzle for President Joe Biden.
One of Hunter Biden’s themes that has captured attention recently is his business dealings in China, following the Biden administration’s sale of strategic oil reserves to foreign companies, including a Chinese company. to which it was linked.
Here, Newsweek attempts to summarize the image as it relates to his work in China: what we can say with confidence about Hunter Biden’s business dealings and the involvement of the news surrounding him.
Who is Hunter Biden?
Most people have heard of or are familiar with Hunter Biden — the president’s son from his first marriage — but understanding his career history and accomplishments is useful context to help distinguish between scandal and gossip.
After graduating from Yale Law School, he consulted for Delaware bank MBNA (a major contributor to Joe Biden’s campaigns) where he earned $100,000 each year, the New York Times reported.
In 2001, he worked as a lobbyist in Washington and started his own company, Oldaker Biden & Belair. Then-presidential candidate Joe Biden paid his son’s lobbying firm at least $143,000 for ‘legal services’, according to a chronology compiled by the National exam.
In 2006, he acquired hedge fund group Paradigm Global Advisors, where he took approved withdrawals from the company in addition to an annual salary of $1.2 million, according to Politics. The company was liquidated in 2010.
In 2008, Hunter Biden founded the consulting firm Seneca Global Advisors, which has helped companies expand into global markets.
After flying to Beijing in 2013 and meeting investment banker Jonathan Li, Hunter Biden was also named managing director and board member of private equity fund BHR Partners in China.
Rosemont Seneca Partners, a private equity firm he co-founded in 2009, partnered with a Chinese investment firm to fund BHR in 2014.
His earnings from Rosemont Seneca and Seneca Global Advisors are not publicly available.
In 2013, he was also appointed as a part-time ensign in the Naval Reserve, but was later administratively discharged after testing positive for cocaine.
In 2016, then-Vice President Joe Biden opened up about his family following the death of his son Joseph R. “Beau” Biden III. During his speech, Biden called Hunter “the love of my life.”
Some of Hunter Biden’s business activities are currently the subject of a federal investigation which, according to unnamed sources cited by CNN, may now have reached “a critical stage”.
Hunter Biden and China
Among Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealings that have come under scrutiny are his involvement with Chinese investment firm BHR and his dealings with powerful Chinese state-owned companies.
Hunter Biden had invested around $420,000 in the company for a 10% stake in the company, the the wall street journal reported quoting a statement from his lawyer, and he was also involved in the creation of BHR.
BHR is widely considered a state-backed Chinese company. Among the companies BHR invested in was Asia’s largest oil refiner, Sinopec.
Its LinkedIn page indicates that in 2014 it invested 4 billion RMB (approximately $597 million) in a pilot agreement to reform China’s state-owned enterprises “involving the segregation and capitalization of Sinopec Group’s non-oil business into Sinopec Marketing. Corporation”.
Hunter Biden reportedly resigned from BHR in 2019 and pledged to cease all overseas work if his father becomes president in 2020.
His attorney at the time, George Mesires, said in a 2019 statement that Hunter Biden had not received compensation for his participation on BHR’s board.
“He has received no return on his investment; there have been no distributions to BHR shareholders since Hunter secured his stake,” Mesires said. “Furthermore, Hunter had no role in directing or executing BHR’s investments. Hunter intends to resign from BHR’s board of directors no later than October 31, 2019.”
In early 2020, some media outlets reported that his name was still among the board members, citing a registration for businesses in China. His name no longer appeared to appear in documents filed in April 2020.
However, Chinese business records still list another of Hunter Biden’s investment firms, Skaneateles, LLC., as a 10% shareholder in the company. It is not clear whether the registers have been recently updated or what regulations require them to be updated.
This recently came to public attention when in April 2022 the US Department of Energy (DOE) announced the sale of 30 million barrels of oil overseas to, among others, Unipec – a subsidiary of Sinopec – which bought 2.75 million barrels.
The sale of these oil reserves to various foreign oil companies was an attempt to temper rising oil prices in world markets.
Some believe that these links between Hunter Biden, his father, Unipec and Sinopec are evidence of corruption and nepotism. But the reports provided no clear evidence of wrongdoing beyond a limited potential for conflict of interest.
Additionally, Hunter Biden would be so far removed from the process of selling oil on either side of the deal that this is a significant leap so far unsupported by available evidence suggesting he is. involved in any of the decision-making.
Simply put, the Biden administration sold oil to a Chinese company called Sinopec – among several other foreign companies – in an effort to keep price inflation under control. Hunter Biden once had a financial interest in Sinopec through BHR. He had not worked for BHR since 2020, according to Chinese records. Other business documents still show that Hunter Biden’s company Skaneateles owns a 10% stake in BHR. It’s unclear if those records are up to date and he has yet to clarify his current financial interest in BHR.
Joe Biden had said before taking office that his family would divest itself of any outside interests that conflicted with, or appeared to conflict with, his presidency. Hunter Biden’s remaining financial interest in BHR is an open question.
This contextual story of Hunter Biden’s China dealings should be kept in mind amid ongoing speculation among House Republicanswho still believe there is a case to be answered on oil sales.
The White House said Newsweek to refer to Hunter Biden’s representatives for comment.
Newsweek approached BHR, Sinopec and Hunter Biden attorney Chris Clark for comment.