Hunter Biden helped China resume global cobalt supplies

For the New York Times, major conflicts of interest are only a small part of a major investigation it took place on three continents and involved several reporters. In two lengthy articles, the newspaper detailed how, as international agencies and the Biden administration promote electric cars, China has acquired a virtual monopoly on the resources needed to manufacture batteries for these vehicles. .

The story of how China acquired a crucial mine in the Democratic Republic of the Congo from a struggling US company in 2016 is a revelation. This is also what he discovered about the massive efforts the Chinese government has made through the companies it funds to take over the industry and how the United States has done next to nothing to prevent this dangerous situation during the last two administrations.

But one aspect of their investigation has political implications in addition to the obvious geostrategic implications of China’s stranglehold on a vital resource just as the obsession with going green to stop global warming has prompted the government to support car production. electric. One of the key players in the acquisition of Tenke Fungurume, a Congolese cobalt and copper mine, from the American company Freeport-McMoRan was the Bohai Harvest RST (Shanghai) Equity Investment Fund Management Company, better known in the industry by its acronym. BHR. BHR was founded by Hunter, President Biden’s son, and two other Americans in cooperation with Chinese investors.

Hunter and the other two Americans held 30% of BHR and Chinese players the remaining 70%, as reported by The Times. All Chinese actors, like the Bank of China, are instruments of the Communist Party government.

Hunter’s Firm finances buyout to enable transaction

The role of BHR in the takeover of Tenke Fungurume of Freeport-McMoRan was to participate in the acquisition of the Canadian partner of the American firm, Lundin Mining. Lundin Mining was given the right of first refusal when the American company, in financial difficulty because of bad investments, was forced to sell its Congolese interests – in which it had invested immense resources to develop the mine.

The U.S. involvement dates back to an effort by the Nixon administration to prevent Russia from getting into the good graces of the then Congolese dictator, Mobutu Sese Seko. The country is now ruled by Joseph Kabila, the son of the man who deposed Mobutu. He appears to be heavily influenced by China and is not interested in interfering with his lucrative exploitation of his country’s natural resources.

In this story, the Chinese effort takes on the appearance of the financial equivalent of a commando raid. A company named China Molybdenum, owned largely by surrogates for the Beijing government, broke in and made Freeport-McMoRan an offer it couldn’t refuse in the form of a $ 2.65 billion offer. dollars largely funded by Chinese government loans.

Lundin Mining could have stopped the deal, but a Shanghai-registered investment company bought them back, assuring that nothing could stop China Molybdenum from acquiring what is believed to be one of the world’s largest cobalt reserves. The investment firm that provided this essential service was Hunter Biden’s BHR.

The Times couldn’t find anyone who could explain how or why Biden’s BHR, of any investment firms operating in Shanghai or elsewhere, was chosen for this task. But he discovered from public documents that none of the $ 1.14 billion raised to buy out Lundin came from private investors. All of this came from entities controlled by the Chinese state, including, as the newspaper notes, bank loans guaranteed by China Molybdenum as well as liquidity brought to the deal through “obscure” shell companies controlled by public banks.

Before the deal with Lundin was made, BHR signed an agreement allowing China Molybdenum to buy them out, which it ultimately did. At the time this happened, Hunter Biden still controlled 10% of BHR through a Washington-based company called Skaneateles, LLC. A lawyer for Biden told The Times he no longer had an interest in any of the companies.

According to someone described by the newspaper as a “former member of the board of directors of BHR,” Biden and the other Americans were not personally involved in the sale of cobalt, “the company only made money out of it. minimal fee ”, and none of that money was“ distributed to its owners ”- although no explanation of how so much money was getting out of the grip of the major players in the business is provided. And just like its claims about Hunter’s Ukraine trade dealings and other Chinese investments, the White House said the president didn’t know.

Failures under Obama and Trump

It’s a complicated story that raises serious questions about the US government’s failure to prevent China from gaining control over a vital commodity. It is also a failure that continued even after President Obama left, despite President Donald Trump’s public concerns about China’s aggressive intentions. Another sale to the same Chinese company of an undeveloped Congolese cobalt mine still owned by Freeport-McMoRan took place without the State Department doing anything about it a month before Trump left office.

That Hunter Biden played a role in Chinese actions that directly threaten U.S. interests is a multi-layered scandal that needs further unboxing. All of this should have been brought to the attention of voters before Hunter’s father was elected President of the United States.

It’s no small irony that a nation like China, which flouts the environmental lobby’s concerns about carbon emissions, is leaping to the West over the resources needed to move away from fossil fuels. But the Obama administration was either indifferent or insufficiently alarmed by the prospect of China’s plans until it was too late.

State Department has been warned

Another interesting detail buried in the Times investigation is that among those warned by a seasoned diplomat of the danger of the Chinese acquisition was Linda Thomas-Greenfield. At the time, she was Deputy Secretary of State for Africa.

She and members of Obama’s National Security Council now say they don’t remember the conversation. But like the rest of the Obama administration alumni who now work for Biden, she has failed to the top, having been appointed U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.

The fact that Hunter Biden finds himself in the middle of this mess cannot be plausibly explained as a mere coincidence. We also can’t expect spokespersons for his father to continue to claim that Hunter’s business dealings were unknown to the President. We need a full account from the two Bidens on what they knew and when they knew it about China and Cobalt and why Hunter’s company was chosen by Beijing to be a key instrument of a political goal. long-term.

Should we expect the same corporate media that told us in 2020 that evidence of Hunter’s influence peddling in regards to his activities in Ukraine and elsewhere was “Russian disinformation,” which enriched articles on the topic and applauded as social media companies shut down the discussion of facts online, for the questions that need to be answered about this outrageous operation? That’s unlikely, even though the source material is an investigation by the flagship of left-wing journalism.

Whether the president knows it or fully understands the implications, Biden’s son was an instrument of Chinese politics, and voters should have known that a year ago. But as late as the revelations are, they must be fully investigated today.

Jonathan S. Tobin is a senior contributor to The Federalist, editor of and columnist for the New York Post. Follow him on Twitter at @jonathans_tobin.

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