Before Dems made Oleg Deripaska a boogeyman, Hunter Biden plotted to make money off Russian

Joe Biden's son pitched an $80,000 business deal to Alcoa to research the Russian oligarch just weeks after his father gave a speech in Russia mentioning the U.S. firm, emails state.

Updated: January 21, 2022 - 10:27pm

In March 2011, then-Vice President Joe Biden gave a much-ballyhooed speech at Moscow State University arguing the Obama-Biden reboot of U.S.-Russia relations had achieved great success, even singling out as an example the U.S. aluminum giant Alcoa for its new business ties inside Vladimir Putin's country.

"The reset is working," Biden crowed. "Working for all of us. Working for Russia. And I would presumptuously suggest working for the world."

That reset didn't last long. Putin's forces would invade the Crimea region of Ukraine in 2014 in an act of aggression that haunts Biden to this day. This week, now-President Biden was forced to clarify remarks after he created an international outcry by suggesting Russia might get away with a new "minor incursion" into Ukraine.

But at the time in 2011, Biden's speech was deemed a big moment, enough so that a copy of the text was emailed by an Obama Department of Energy official to the vice president's globe-trotting son Hunter Biden, then-cochairman of the Rosemont Seneca Partners investment firm.

"FYI, note CEO of Alcoa at VP event in Russia today," fellow Rosemont Seneca official Eric Schwerin emailed Hunter Biden as the vice president's trip to Moscow was unfolding, according to emails turned over to the FBI two years ago from a laptop once owned by the younger Biden.

It turns out Hunter Biden and his team had a keen interest in the company Vice President Biden singled out in his speech, and specifically Alcoa's business expansion inside Russia.

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, oligarch Oleg 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 stated that Hunter Biden had sent Alcoa sample data with a "map of OD's networks based on frequency of interaction with selected elites and countries; key statements made in certain period of time."

The finished product that was promised included an "assessment of political risks posed to Alcoa by OD and his elite networks using data analysis specified above."

The price tag was also clearly identified: "Fees: $25,000 for phase one of project, focusing solely on support/opposition networks, relationships within Russia, $55,000 for refined analysis of critical issues and mapping elite networks linked to UC Rusal and Basic Element in Russia and other countries."

The emails show Rosemont executives kept Hunter Biden apprised of Alcoa's feedback on the proposal though they do not make clear whether the contract was ever signed.

George Mesires, a lawyer for Hunter Biden, did not return an email from Just the News this week seeking comment on the Alcoa efforts.

Alcoa spokesman Jim Beck told Just the News that the aluminum giant broke into two separate companies back in 2016 and it was no longer in position to comment on the prior parent company's past business activities.

"Alcoa Corporation is an independent company created in 2016 as a spin-off from the former Alcoa Inc.," Beck said. "As such, Alcoa Corporation is not in a position to respond on behalf of our prior parent company."

The emails come from a laptop that a Delaware shop owner claims Hunter Biden dropped off for repair in 2019, left behind and never picked up. The shop owner eventually turned it over to the FBI and federal prosecutors, whom Hunter Biden has acknowledged are investigating his taxes from his prior business dealings.

Just the News obtained a complete copy of the laptop in the state it was left when it was turned over to the FBI and has corroborated some of its content with third parties whose emails were included on it.

In addition, the FBI's former chief expert on signature analysis reviewed the receipt issued from the laptop repair shop and told Just the News he has concluded without question that Hunter Biden signed the document.

Hunter Biden has been vague about the laptop, saying the laptop "could be" his or could be the work of Russian intelligence.

The Director of National Intelligence, however, said it has no evidence Russians had anything to do with the laptop.

Hunter Biden has said he expects to be cleared of any wrongdoing in the investigation led by the U.S. Attorney's office in Delaware. And he and his father have promised to avoid during the Biden presidency foreign business deals like those during the Obama-Biden administration that raised questions of an appearance of conflicts of interests, such as Hunter Biden's work for the Ukraine energy company Burisma Holdings.

The Alcoa anecdote captured in the emails, nonetheless, captures another cogent example of how Hunter Biden's business pursuits overseas often overlapped with his father's foreign policy responsibilities.

Hunter Biden has acknowledged he went aboard his father's Air Force II jet in 2013 on a trip to China and met with officials with whom he created an investment firm.

In 2014, Hunter Biden secured a lucrative seat on the Burisma board the same month his father went to Ukraine as President Obama's handpicked emissary overseeing U.S.-Ukraine policy.

State Department officials from the Kiev embassy have testified Hunter Biden's work for Burisma created the appearance of a conflict of interest that undercut U.S. anti-corruption efforts inside Ukraine.

The Alcoa anecdote also highlights Democrats' awkward history with Deripaska, one of Russia's wealthiest businessmen and once a close ally of Putin.

Democrat opposition researchers spread allegations that Deripaska could have been a key coordination point for the Trump campaign to collude with Russia to hijack the 2016 election.

Such allegations gave rise to a three-year investigation that dogged most of the Trump presidency. In the end, multiple investigations concluded there was no such conspiracy between Trump and Russia or actors like Deripaska to hijack the 2016 election.

Deripaska has long denied any wrongdoing, though in 2018 the U.S. Treasury imposed sanctions on him.

In a 2019 interview with The Hill newspaper and this reporter, Deripaska said the FBI interviewed him at the very start of the Russia collusion probe in fall 2016 and he assured them there was no chance that he or other Russians were colluding with the Trump campaign or Deripaska's then-estranged former business partner Paul Manafort, who for a time was Trump's campaign chairman.

"I told them straightforward, 'Look, I am not a friend with him [Manafort]. Apparently not, because I started a court case [against him] six or nine months before … But since I'm Russian I would be very surprised that anyone from Russia would try to approach him for any reason, and wouldn't come and ask me my opinion,'" Deripaska said at the time.

Deripaska also related in that interview another explosive revelation: During the Obama-Biden years the FBI, and specifically former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, enlisted him to help it try to locate a retired FBI agent and CIA asset who had gone missing in Iran. FBI officials have since confirmed Deripaska assisted the probe.

"I was approached, you know, by someone that he is under a lot of scrutiny now — McCabe," Deripaska said at the time."He also said that it was important enough for all of them [FBI officials]. And I kind of trusted them."

Today, the Trump-Russia collusion allegations have long since been debunked.But the Hunter Biden emails have revealed how the current president's son hatched a plan to make money off the Russian oligarch's name at a time when his father was directly dealing with U.S.-Russia policy.

Just the News Spotlight