Man in the middle: Emails show how cooperating Hunter Biden associate could dish on Joe
Rosemont business associate had critical access to Joe and Hunter Biden during the first family's push to discover "earnings potential" overseas.
The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook
In the years since Hunter Biden's laptop was seized by the FBI and made public, one business associate with unique access to both Joe Biden and his son has repeatedly emerged as key to investigators: longtime Rosemont Seneca Partners investment firm executive Eric Schwerin.
Contemporaneous emails gleaned from the laptop show Schwerin handled some tax matters for both the future president and his son, engaging in conversations about everything from Joe Biden's private earnings potential to his son's unpaid taxes.
He also witnessed discussions about some of the family's most controversial overseas business deals ranging from Hunter Biden's remuneration from the Burisma Holdings natural gas firm in Ukraine and a plan to make money off the name of a Russian oligarch to dealings with the CEFC energy firm in communist China.
On Thursday, House Oversight and Accountability Committee Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) revealed to Just the News that his investigative team had secured Schwerin's initial cooperation, a breakthrough with a potentially transformative witness who could help Congress understand the who, what and why of the Biden family's pursuit of overseas riches dating to the early years of the Obama administration.
"He is cooperating with us," Comer told the "Just the News, No Noise" television show. "His attorneys and my counsel are communicating on a regular basis. Now, I feel confident that he's going to work with us, and provide us with the information that we have requested."
Comer added: "I think that Schwerwin is going to be a very valuable witness for us in this investigation."
The announcement comes as the committee has gotten word that Hunter Biden and his uncle, presidential brother James Biden, don't intend to volunteer all the information Comer's committee has been seeking in its wide-ranging probe of the first family's overseas business dealings, which collected millions from Ukraine to China.
Comer said his committee won't wait any longer and will begin issuing subpoenas immediately.
"We know individuals, many are cooperating with us now, but others, not so much," he said. "We're going to start subpoenaing people in the private sector, we're going to start subpoenaing financial institutions to get us the information. And then we'll go from there."
There is no suggestion Schwerin, who worked in the Clinton administration before entering private business, engaged in any wrongdoing himself, and former colleagues described him to Just the News as respected and straightforward.
But Schwerin's cooperation with congressional investigators opens an unprecedented window into the finances of Joe and Hunter Biden and the business deals the first son pursued overseas as his father shepherded key aspects of U.S. foreign policy, a point Comer accentuated in a November 17 letter that first solicited Schwerin's help.
"Your personal involvement in then-Vice President Biden and his son Hunter Biden's finances — including your role as president of Hunter Biden's Rosemont Seneca Partners company —and your numerous visits to the White House, reveal your extensive involvement with Joe Biden and his family’s affairs," Comer wrote to Schwerin.
Hunter Biden's lawyer and a spokesperson for the Biden White House did not immediately return calls seeking comment. Schwerin did not respond to a request for comment at his current office in Pennsylvania.
Below follows a roadmap to some of the emails involving Schwerin that have captured federal and congressional investigators' attention:
1. Schwerin wrote he worked on Joe Biden's taxes and suggested the future president owed his son money.
In spring and summer 2010, emails state Hunter Biden and Schwerin assisted the White House with documents for Joe Biden's tax returns after his first year in office as vice president. Afterwards, they discussed diverting the then-vice president's Delaware state tax refund to Hunter Biden to pay off money the father allegedly owed his son.
"I am depositing it in his account and writing a check in that amount back to you since he owes it to you," Schwerin wrote to Hunter Biden in June 2010 about the tax refund. "Don't think I need to run it by him, but if you want to go ahead."
You can read that email here: FYI-Reacted.pdf
2. Schwerin wrote an email suggesting Hunter Biden paid some of his father's expenses.
In July 2010, Schwerin wrote an email entitled "JRB bills" — using the future president's initials— and listed a series of expenses from Joe Biden's lakefront home in Wilmington, Del., that Hunter Biden had allegedly paid.
They included $1,239 for air conditioner repairs at "mom-mom's cottage" and another $1,475 to paint the "back wall and columns at the lake house." There was $475 "for shutters" and $2,600 for building or repairing a "stone retaining wall at the lake."
You can read that email here: JRB Bills-Redacted.pdf
3. Schwerin engaged in a conversation about Joe Biden exploring how much money he could earn.
That same summer of 2010 — with Joe Biden just 18 months into his eight-year term as Obama's vice president — Schwerin and Hunter Biden discussed exploring what Joe Biden could make in the private sector in an email entitled "JRB Future Memo."
"Your Dad just called me (about his mortgage) and mentioned he'd be out a lot soon and not really back until Labor Day," Schwerin emailed Hunter Biden on July 6, 2010. "So it dawned on me it might be a good time (also he could use some positive news about his future earnings potential!)."
You can read that email here:
4. Schwerin was involved in the Biden family's initial discussions with the Chinese energy firm CEFC starting in 2015.
CEFC first approached Hunter Biden about making a donation to the U.S. World Food Program, which he served as honorary chairman, according to Schwerin's own correspondence on the laptop.
"Hunter was recently approached by a large privately owned Chinese corporation, called CEFC Energy China, that has a U.S. based foundation," Schwerin wrote in October 2015.
"They'd like to explore making a donation to WFP USA and their CEO would like to meet with the appropriate person at WFP USA the last week of October when he is in the U.S." he added. "My assumption based on the conversations I have had with them is that it would be more than just a token donation."
Soon, Hunter Biden and his partners would steer the discussion to personal business, when Hunter Biden was invited to a private meeting in December 2015 with CEFC's Chairman Ye in Washington D.C.
"I am confident that many interesting projects may come out of that in the future," a business associate wrote in explaining why Hunter Biden should attend.
As Just the News, The Washington Post and others have reported, the CEFC courtship eventually landed the Biden family a large diamond as a gift and a no-interest, forgivable $5 million loan that enriched the first family.
5. Schwerin warned Hunter Biden he had undeclared income from Ukraine on which he owed back taxes.
Four days before Donald Trump assumed the presidency, Schwerin warned Hunter Biden that he had not paid taxes on approximately $400,000 he had been paid by the Ukrainian gas firm Burisma in 2014 and needed to file an amended tax return.
"In 2014 you joined the Burisma Board and we still need to amend your 2014 returns to reflect the unreported Burisma income," Schwerin wrote Hunter Biden on Jan. 16, 2017. "That is approximately $400,000 extra so your income in 2014 was close to $1,247,328."
The email has caught the attention of investigators because it also described other transactions as "phantom income."
Hunter Biden issued a statement in late 2020 acknowledging he was under federal investigation for taxes, saying he was cooperating and confident he and his accountant handled his filings appropriately.
"I am confident that a professional and objective review of these matters will demonstrate that I handled my affairs legally and appropriately, including with the benefit of professional tax advisors," Hunter Biden said at the time.
6. Schwerin emails detail effort by Hunter Biden to monitor father's official speeches looking for business opportunities.
Several emails on the Hunter Biden laptop turned over to the FBI chronicle instances in which Hunter Biden and his business partners monitored official actions or speeches by then-Vice President Biden to conjure up business ideas. Schwerin engaged in an email discussion about one such opportunity, which targeted a Russian oligarch.
Shortly after then-Vice President Biden gave a speech in 2011 in Russia that mentioned the U.S. aluminum firm Alcoa, Hunter Biden pitched an $80,000 business deal to Alcoa to research a controversial Russian oligarch named Oleg Deripaska who also was in the global aluminum business.
"FYI, note CEO of Alcoa at VP event in Russia today," Schwerin emailed Hunter Biden as the vice president's trip to Moscow was unfolding.
Within a few short months, Hunter Biden personally emailed a proposal to Alcoa executives to charge them as much as $80,000 for an intelligence and risk analysis report on one of the U.S. company's new Russian partners, Deripaska, who ran the Russian aluminum giant RUSAL.
"Please see the attached proposal per our last conversation," Hunter Biden wrote the Alcoa executive on June 3, 2011. "Since we weren't able to get into it in depth in our meeting, we tried to provide a little better sense of the product by attaching some of the raw data that is produced through the elite mapping procedure.
"Take a look at the attached and let's discuss after you have had a time to look it over. I am happy to get some of the other folks on the phone with you if you want us to further explain some of the attachments."
Hunter Biden's overture touched off a long series of emails between Alcoa officials and Rosemont Seneca executives that laid out the scope of the work the Biden firm was proposing.
"Follow-up to initial meeting with Rosemont Seneca Co-Chairman Hunter Biden regarding proposal to provide Alcoa with statistical analysis of political and corporate risks, elite networks associated with Oleg Deripaska (OD), Russian CEO of Basic Element company and United Company RUSAL," one email explained.
The emails don't indicate whether the deal was ever consummated.
As he continued to play a role in both Joe and Hunter Biden's affairs in 2015, Schwerin scored an appointment from Obama to a prestigious federal body called the Commission for the Preservation of America's Heritage Abroad.
"Eric D. Schwerin is Founding Partner and Managing Director at Rosemont Seneca Partners, LLC, positions he has held since 2008," Obama's announcement said. "He has also been President of RSP Investments, LLC since 2013." Both firms cited are tied to Hunter Biden.
Schwerin and Hunter Biden worked together previously from 2002 to 2008 as partners at Oldaker, Biden & Belair, a firm that sought hefty sums in earmarks for clients' pet projects from Obama when he was still a U.S. senator, according to a 2008 article in The Washington Post.
"Sen. Barack Obama sought more than $3.4 million in congressional earmarks for clients of the lobbyist son of his Democratic running mate, Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware, records show," the newspaper reported. "Obama succeeded in getting $192,000 for one of the clients, St. Xavier University in suburban Chicago."
The newspaper article quoted a letter Hunter Biden and Schwerin sent one client that stated they were "working with a number of clients, institutions like yours, and we would like to help you identify earmarks, federal support and grants," the newspaper reported.
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