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Hunter Biden planned to build global hedge fund that included father, witness testifies

The new statements from Jason Galanis, who was closely involved with efforts to combine the Biden family name with foreign investors' capital, told Congressional investigators that the Biden brand was central to their plans and recounted Joe Biden's involvement.

Published: February 26, 2024 11:00pm

Updated: March 4, 2024 2:31pm

New statements by a onetime business partner of Hunter Biden to the House impeachment inquiry shed new light on the efforts by the son of the then-vice president to secure a financial future for his family: by organizing a multibillion-dollar hedge fund marrying foreign investors with the “globally known political name” Biden.

Though Jason Galanis’ sworn testimony provides new context to the group’s plans, an email obtained from Hunter Biden’s abandoned laptop and evidence obtained by the impeachment inquiry reveal the full scope of the effort before a fraudulent tribal bonds scheme brought down Galanis and Devon Archer—another Hunter Biden business partner involved in the deal.

The plan focused on building global cooperation between prominent investors from all continents, including deals with high-powered oligarchs from Russia and Kazakhstan, Chinese government-linked businessmen, and politically connected Mexican tycoons, among others.

Neither Abbe Lowell, lawyer for Hunter Biden, nor the White House responded to a request for comment from Just the News.

Galanis and Archer were ultimately charged and convicted in a fraudulent scheme that Galanis told Congress was designed to build the financial platform for the new deals. Hunter Biden managed to avoid any scrutiny in the cases of both Galanis and Archer despite his close involvement the company that perpetrated the scheme.

In his opening statement provided to House impeachment investigators Friday and obtained by Just the News, Galanis described how the Biden name was a central asset of the hedge fund the three partners planned to build.

“The entire value-add of Hunter Biden to our business was his family name and his access to his father, Vice President Joe Biden,” he told the investigators at an interview held in a federal prison in Alabama, where he is serving his sentence.

“Our objective was to build a diversified private equity platform, which would be anchored by a globally known Wall Street brand together with a globally known political name,” he described business model.

In addition to his name—or perhaps because of it—Hunter Biden worked to secure “strategic relationships to the venture, including from Kazakhstan, Russia and China,” Galanis said.

Hunter Biden brought a little United Nations of investors or partners to the table. These included Russian oligarch Yelena Baturina, Kazakhstani oligarch Kenes Rakishev, and Chinese businessman Henry Zhao, according to Galanis. Emails from his laptop show that he had even grander designs to include “billionaires” from other continents like Miguel Aleman Magnani, scion of the Mexican Alemán family, who has close connections to Hunter Biden.

These names are already very familiar to the impeachment inquiry investigators, who have assembled considerable evidence showing that Joe Biden met with nearly all his son’s foreign clients and traced payments or business agreements in close proximity to these meetings. Biden repeatedly denied ever meeting with any of his son's business partners though these claims are challenged by his own son's recollections. For example, Hunter Biden said that he and his father only had a "cup of coffee" with investment banker Jonathan Li, who ran a private equity fund, BHR Partners, in which Hunter was a board member. 

For example, Russian oligarch Yelena Baturina, the widow of former Moscow mayor Yury Luzhkov, attended an April 2014 dinner hosted by Hunter Biden at the posh Cafe Milano in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C., according to testimony from Archer. Mere weeks before, Baturina had deposited $3.5 million into a bank account associated with a Hunter Biden business for the purpose of investing in a real estate deal in New York City.

Kazakhstani oligarch Kenes Rakishev also attended the same dinner. Shortly after the gathering, Rakishev wired a Hunter Biden-connected entity $142,300 on April 21, 2014. The following day, the same amount was wired to a New Jersey car dealership to pay for a  Porsche sports car for Hunter Biden, according to a report by the Oversight Committee.

Hunter Biden and Devon Archer intended to use the relationships they had built with oligarchs like Rakishev and Baturina and the acquisition of Burnham to focus their political connections and funds under one group.

“Burnham was the focal point for integrating a 'Biden Family Office’ into a large-scale financial company with international influence,” Galanis told House investigators last week. “We undertook multiple steps to accomplish this goal including the acquisition of Hunter Biden’s companies, [Rosemont Seneca Partners] Investments and Rosemont Seneca Advisors, managed by Eric Schwerin.”

In one March 2014 email chain culled from the laptop, Hunter Biden discussed his ideas for a “global cooperation group” with partners Devon Archer and Jeff Cooper, an associate who collaborated closely with Hunter Biden in his dealings with the Mexican Alemán family.

“This is a global cooperation group that will assist each other in our respective regions in whatever manner possible,” Cooper wrote. “We can go deeper if you guys think we need to do so, but I think to start, the simpler the better.”

“I agree on agenda- keep it simple. I just want to make sure we can meet whatever expectations we set while making it as enticing as possible,” Hunter Biden responded. Earlier in the chain, he had written a list of who he believed were the best billionaire investors. He listed Abel Navarro of Spain, Kenes Rakishev of Kazakhstan, Mikail Shishkhanov of Russia, Jonathan Li of China, and a handful of others from South America, Africa, and the Middle East.

“We need a Canadian billionaire and a certified American billionaire to add to list. Also I think the Phillipines, Israel, Turkey and UAE (maybe Youssef Al'Otiaba). We could drop Colombia and or Argentina. Finally, an African preferably from Ghana or Tanzania,” Biden wrote, throwing out suggestions.

In 2014, Burnham & Company formed a joint venture with one Chinese businessman, Xuejun “Henry” Zhao to “enhance” the partnership, Galanis explained. Zhao was the head of Harvest Fund Management, one of the participating entities in Hunter Biden’s BHR Partners, a fund formed in 2013 which brought together Zhao’s Harvest, Jonathan Li’s Bohai Capital, and several Chinese state-owned enterprises, including the Bank of China.

The attraction of further financial cooperation between Zhao and Hunter Biden with his partners was an indication from the American side that Joe Biden would join the venture after his vice presidential term ended.

“Mr. Zhao was interested in this partnership because of the game-changing value add of the Biden family, including Joe Biden, who was to be a member of the Burnham-Harvest team post-vice presidency, providing political access in the United States and around the world,” Galanis told investigators.

This proposition was enticing for Zhao, Galanis told investigators. According to his testimony, Hunter Biden reinforced this expectation in an email draft Galanis’ lawyer provided to the committee.

“Michael, please also remind Henry [Zhao] of our conversation about a board seat for a certain relation of mine. Devon and I golfed with that relation earlier last week and we discussed this very idea again and as always he remains very very keen on the opportunity,” it reportedly reads, with Galanis confirming it as a reference to Joe Biden. Ultimately, this phrase was removed from the final email draft; however, it has been preserved in Galanis’ records.

Burnham also reached an agreement with Mykola Zlochevsky, the Ukrainian oligarch and founder of Burisma Holdings, where both Hunter Biden and Devon Archer were serving on the board.

Zlochevsky has been a central figure in the ongoing impeachment inquiry. As the founder of Burisma, he was under investigation for corruption by the Ukrainian authorities. Hunter Biden worked with Burisma representative Vadim Pozharskyi and Democrat-connected lobbying firm Blue Star Strategies to shut down the investigation by Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin.

Ultimately, then-Vice President Biden would travel to Kyiv in December 2015 and call for Shokin’s firing, reportedly days after both Zlochevsky and Pozharskyi had asked Hunter Biden to call his father during a board meeting in Dubai.

The group’s plans to build the multibillion-dollar enterprise were interrupted when both Devon Archer and Jason Galanis were charged and convicted in a scheme to steal $43 million in tribal bonds using their client’s funds. According to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) they “participated in a scheme to convince a Native American tribal corporation affiliated with the Wakpamni District of the Oglala Sioux Nation to issue limited recourse bonds that Jason Galanis and his father, John Galanis, had already structured.”

Hunter Biden was never charged, despite his close association with Archer and Galanis.

In 2015, the scheme had raised alarms among bank compliance officers at Morgan Stanley, which made an internal presentation detailing suspicious transactions from, among other entities, Hunter Biden’s Rosemont Seneca, Just the News previously reported.

An internal Morgan Stanley presentation describing the scheme included a dossier about Hunter Biden, indicating that the compliance officers believed he was part of the racket.

The May 8, 2015 Morgan Stanley presentation deck titled “Overview of Wakpamni Series 2014 Bonds Potentially Suspicious Structure & Transactions” included a cover photo of Hunter Biden sitting with Joe Biden and Barack Obama and detailed Hunter Biden’s past controversies, including his expulsion from the Navy for drug use.

Eventually, the Morgan Stanley officials would escalate their concerns to the SEC which led to the investigation that resulted in charges for Archer and Galanis. Hunter Biden appears to have escaped scrutiny. Financial institutions like Morgan Stanley are required by federal law to report suspicious transactions called "red flags" in the industry. 

On Friday, Galanis told House investigators that the tribal bond scheme was part of “unlawful” efforts to build the Burnham financial platform for the group of partners, which included Hunter Biden.

He also told investigators that he believes the prosecutors in the case had treated Archer “lightly” and avoided indicting Hunter Biden at all. Most importantly, they given Hunter Biden special treatment “despite then-available documentation that we were partners, were involved in the decision making that involved illegal self-dealing, and all of us had financially benefited from these schemes,” Galanis said.

“In an effort to build this financial platform, I engaged in unlawful conduct. Our companies were entrusted with $11 billion of union members’ pension fund money whose trust I betrayed,” Galanis admitted in his opening statement. “I pleaded guilty. I have had eight years in federal custody to reflect on my actions and I am profoundly sorry for my role,” he added.

The new information from Galanis on Friday comes as the Oversight Committee prepares to interview Hunter Biden on Wednesday, February 28, in the long-anticipated climax of the House Republicans’ impeachment inquiry into President Biden for the alleged family influence peddling scheme.

[Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly attributed a statement about a cup of coffee with one of Hunter Biden's business partners to Joe Biden.]

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