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Hunter Biden and the 'big guy': the anatomy of a foreign enrichment scandal

New evidence that surfaced in recent weeks provides a more complete picture of Hunter Biden's business endeavors and their correlation to his father's policy responsibilities as vice president.

Updated: December 30, 2020 - 9:34am

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

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Nearly a year after President Trump was acquitted in an impeachment trial for seeking an investigation of the Biden family business dealings overseas, explosive new revelations have surfaced showing the extent of Hunter Biden's effort to cash in on his father Joe Biden's name and the timing of key business transactions to the former vice president's policy responsibilities and actions.

Here are some of the key dates and evidence:

 

June 2009

Six months into the Obama-Biden administration, Hunter Biden co-founds an investment fund called Rosemont Seneca Partners with Christopher Heinz, the stepson of then-Senator and future Secretary of State John Kerry, and a former Kerry aide named Devon Archer. The firm would create a series of side business ventures over the next several years in China, Russia, Ukraine and Kazahkstan.

November 2013

Hunter Biden and his business partners form a company called Bohai Harvest RST Partners, or BHR, to do investment business in China.

Dec. 4-7, 2013

Hunter Biden joins his father aboard Air Force II for a trip to Beijing, where he briefly introduces the vice president to his Chinese business partner Jonathan Li. Vice President Joe Biden's official trip to Beijing was to quiet security concerns in the region after Chinese aggression in the China Sea. Less than two weeks after the trip, China officially approves an operating license for the BHR investment.

February 2014

Vice President Joe Biden named by President Obama to be U.S. point man on Ukrainian crisis after Euromaidan Revolution of Dignity leads to ouster of Viktor Yanukovych as Ukrainian president.

April 13, 2014

Devon Archer, the business partner of Hunter Biden, son of the VP, and Christopher Heinz, stepson of Secretary of State John Kerry, is named an independent director of the Ukrainian gas company Burisma Holdings. That same day, Hunter Biden and Devon Archer exchange emails on how to leverage Joe Biden's upcoming official trip to Ukraine to secure a lucrative consulting contract with Burisma to augment their board memberships. "The contract should begin now — not after the upcoming visit of my guy," Hunter Biden wrote in an email obtained by the FBI.

 April 15, 2014

Burisma Holdings makes two payments to the Morgan Stanley account of Devon Archer's and Hunter Biden's firm Rosemont Seneca Bohai in the amounts of $83,333.33 and $29,424.82, according to Burisma Holdings financial records obtained by Ukraine Prosecutor General's Office and Rosemont Seneca Bohai records obtained by the FBI.

April 15, 2014

Devon Archer, Hunter Biden's partner in Rosemont Seneca Bohai and Burisma Holdings, checks into White House for meeting with Vice President Joe Biden, according to the Secret Service's official WAVES entry logs for the Obama White House.

April 16, 2014

Hunter Biden writes an email to his business partners complaining money he expected to receive from his Chinese business partners has not come in. "We had assurances that the PRC money would come first, and we would build on that. Right now I don't see that happening," Hunter Biden wrote in an email obtained by the FBI.

April 22, 2014

VP Joe Biden meets with Ukraine Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and urges Ukraine to ramp up energy production to free itself from its Russian natural gas dependence. Biden boasts that "an American team is currently in the region working with Ukraine and its neighbors to increase Ukraine's short-term energy supply." Yatsenyuk welcomes help from American "investors" in modernizing natural gas supply lines in Ukraine.

April 23, 2014

Hunter Biden writes an email to Archer urging that they take credit with Burisma executive Vadim Pozharskyi for comments Joe Biden made in Ukraine about natural gas because "it makes it look like we are adding value," according to an email obtained by the FBI.

April 24, 2014

Joe Biden meets with future Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko.

April 28, 2014

Britain's Serious Fraud Office freezes $23 million in assets kept in London by Burisma Holdings and its founder, Mykola Zlochevsky, on grounds it was fraudulently transferred from Ukraine. Zlochevsky and Burisma deny wrongdoing.

May 13, 2014

Hunter Biden announced as a board member for Ukraine's largest natural gas company Burisma Holdings, which is run by Mykola Zlochevsky, a former cabinet official for ousted president Victor Yanukovych.

May 13, 2014

Christopher Heinz, business partner to Devon Archer and Hunter Biden and stepson to John Kerrysends email to Secretary of State's top aides distancing himself from Archer, Biden appointments to Burisma Holdings board, according to FOIA released to Citizens United.

May 15, 2014

Burisma Holdings makes two equal $83,333.33 payments totaling $166,666.66 to the Morgan Stanley account of Hunter Biden's and Devon Archer's firm Rosemont Seneca Bohai, according to the company's official ledger and Rosemont Seneca Bohais bank records obtained by the FBI. Similar payments are made every month for more than a year.

May 20, 2014

David Leiter, former chief of staff to John Kerry, hired as a lobbyist for Burisma Holdings, Senate lobbying records show. The firm is paid $90,000 in 2014 to lobby Congress and the State Department.

May 25, 2014

Poroshenko wins the Ukraine presidential election

July 5, 2014

Burisma Holdings pays $250,000 retainer to Boies Schiller law firm where board member Hunter Biden also works, according to Burisma Holdings financial records.

Validation: Burisma Holdings financial records released by Ukraine Prosecutor General's Office. 

Aug. 20, 2014

Ukraine Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin's office opens criminal investigation of Burisma Holdings and Mykola Zlochevsky for alleged corrupt award of gas exploration permits and eventual looting of company, according to Ukrainian prosecutor general's case file. 

Sept. 16, 2014

Burisma Holdings makes $33,039.77 payment to Boies Schiller law firm, according to company records.

Validation: Burisma Holdings accounting ledger obtained by Ukraine Prosecutor General's Office  https://www.scribd.com/document/436048670/Burisma-Holdings-Accounting-Ledger

December 16, 2014

Former Deputy National Security Adviser Tony Blinken, a longtime Joe Biden adviser, confirmed by Senate as Deputy Secretary of State under John Kerry.

Jan. 18, 2015

Prosecutor General's office in Ukraine declares Burisma Holdings founder Mykola Zlochevsky a fugitive "wanted in Ukraine."

Validation: https://www.kyivpost.com/article/content/reform-watch/prosecutors-put-zlochevsky-multimillionaire-ex-ecology-minister-on-wanted-list-377719.html

Jan. 29, 2015

British Serious Fraud Office announces it is closing down investigation into Burisma and Zlochevsky for insufficient evidence.

February 2015

Then-U.S. embassy official George Kent in Kiev reported to the U.S. Justice Department evidence that Burisma had made a $7 million cash bribe to Ukrainian prosecutors before those prosecutors killed a separate corruption probe in the United Kingdom by failing to produce required evidence, according to a memo Kent sent a year later.

May 22, 2015

Hunter Biden emails his father's longtime trusted aide, Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken, with the following message: "Have a few minutes next week to grab a cup of coffee? I know you are impossibly busy, but would like to get your advice on a couple of things, Best, Hunter." Blinken responds the same day with an "absolutely" and added, "Look forward to seeing you." The records indicate the two men were scheduled to meet the afternoon of May 27, 2015.

June 11, 2015

Burisma Holdings makes $20,000 donation to the Delaware Community Foundation in the name of Beau Biden, the vice president's oldest son who died of cancer, according to the company's financial records released by Ukraine prosecutor general's office.

July 22, 2015

Hunter Biden meets with Deputy Secretary Tony Blinken for lunch at State Department, according to State Department memos.

Aug. 16, 2015

Devon Archer throws a $10,000 a plate fund-raiser in New York for the Seed Global Health charity founded by Secretary of State Kerry's daughter, Dr. Vanessa Kerry, according to official invite.

Sept. 25, 2015

U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt gives speech imploring Ukrainian prosecutors to do more to bring Burisma's Zlochevsky to justice.

Sept. 29, 2015

VP Biden meets with President Poroshenko in Ukraine.

Nov. 18, 2015

Burisma Holdings makes $60,000 payment to the American legal, lobbying and communications firm Blue Star Strategies for consulting work, according to company's official ledger.

Dec. 7, 2015

VP Biden meets with President Poroshenko and demands the president make "hard decisions" to eliminate "the cancer of corruption" in his country, according to summary memo.

Dec. 8, 2015

The New York Times publishes article stating Prosecutor General Shokin's office is investigating Burisma Holdings and its founder Zlochevsky, and that Hunter Biden's participation on Burisma board is undercutting Joe Biden's anticorruption message in Ukraine. VP Biden office quoted in story.

Jan. 21-24, 2016

Obama White House invites leaders of Ukraine's Prosecutor General Office to Washington for a hastily arranged set of meetings to discuss anti-corruption cases, including Burisma and Party of Regions case involving Paul Manafort..

Feb. 4, 2016

Ukraine Prosecutor General's Office under the direction of Viktor Shokin announces the re-seizure of assets from Burisma Holdings founder Mykola Zlochevsky under a continuing criminal investigation. The seizure occurred on Feb. 2, 2016, according to the announcement.

Feb. 4, 2016

Burisma board member Hunter Biden sends a Twitter notification to Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken, a longtime adviser to Joe Biden, indicating he is following Blinken on Twitter.

Feb. 11, 18, 19, 2016

VP Biden holds series of phone calls with President Poroshenko to check on status of pending items from their December 2015 meeting.

Feb. 18, 2016

Latvian financial authorities alert Ukrainian prosecutors to several Burisma Holdings transactions flagged as suspicious, including some to Hunter Biden.

Feb. 24-March 1, 2016

An American representative for Burisma Holdings, Karen Tramontano of Blue Star Strategies, seeks meeting with Undersecretary of State Catherine A. Novelli to discuss ending the corruption allegations against the Ukrainian gas firm. Hunter Biden's name was specifically invoked by the Burisma representative as a reason the State Department should help. "Per our conversation, Karen Tramontano of Blue Star Strategies requested a meeting to discuss with U/S Novelli USG remarks alleging Burisma (Ukrainian energy company) of corruption," a summary memo says.

March 2, 2016

Devon Archer, a business partner of Hunter Biden and fellow American board member on Burisma Holdings, secures meeting with Secretary of State John Kerry, State Department memos say.

March 15, 2016

Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland demands Ukraine "appoint and confirm a new, clean Prosecutor General, who is committed to rebuilding the integrity of the PGO, and investigate, indict and successfully prosecute corruption and asset recovery cases — including locking up dirty personnel in the PGO itself."

March 22, 2016

VP Joe Biden engages in phone call from Washington D.C. with Ukrainian president Poroshenko about U.S. loan guarantees. It is believed in this call that Biden renews his demands that the president fire Prosecutor General Shokin, who is overseeing the Burisma prosecution, or risk losing the next $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees.

March 29, 2016

Ukraine parliament fires Prosecutor General Shokin at urging of President Poroshenko.

March 30, 2016

Burisma Holdings' U.S. legal team seeks help of Ukrainian embassy official Andrii Telizhenko in Washington seeking urgent meeting with new Acting Prosecutor General of Ukraine, according to legal team's email to embassy.

March 31, 2016

VP Joe Biden arrives in Ukraine and announces $1 billion in loan guarantees, ending threat to withhold aid and force Ukraine into debt default, and also delivers $239 million more in promised aid.

April 6, 2016

Burisma Holdings' U.S. legal team of John Buretta, Sally Painter and Karen Tramontano meets with Ukraine's Acting Prosecutor General Sevruk to seek resolution of Burisma criminal investigation. American lawyers apologize for "false information" spread by U.S. government to force the firing of Shokin and offer Prosecutor General's Office an olive branch of arranging a meeting in Washington to clear the air, according to prosecutors' summary memo.

Dec. 29, 2016

Marie Yovanovitch, the U.S. Ambassador to Kiev, reports to State Department in Washington that Burisma is believed to have paid a bribe to settle its remaining cases. "There are accusations that Burisma allegedly had a subsidiary dump natural gas as a way to pay bribes," Yovanovitch wrote.

Jan. 16, 2017

A business colleague warns Hunter Biden he had not paid taxes on approximately $400,000 that he had been paid by a Ukrainian gas firm in 2014 and that he needed to file an amended tax return, according to an email obtained by the FBI.

Jan. 17-18, 2017

Joe Biden makes final appearance in Ukraine with President Poroshenko.

February 1, 2017:

John Buretta, the American lawyer for Burisma Holdings, gives interview in Kiev confirming there were criminal cases open in 2016 in Ukraine but all have been settled, the last with a penalty for tax violations.

May 11-13, 2017

Hunter Biden's business partners engage in series of texts and emails discussing ways to get Joe Biden a piece of an upcoming China energy deal. One of the memos talks about how to "get Joe involved" in the venture, while another mentions that 10% of the shares would be held by Hunter Biden "for the big guy."

Jan. 25, 2018

Former VP Biden boasts at Council on Foreign Relations event in Washington that he strong-armed Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko into firing Prosecutor General Shokin, using loan guarantees as leverage. He also calls Shokin's replacement Yuriy Lutsenko "solid."

Feb. 10, 2019

NABU revives dormant Burisma case, drafting a notice of suspicion against founder Mykola Zlochevsky and asking the special anti-corruption prosecutor of Ukraine to bring Zlochevsky in for questioning.

March 28, 2019

Ukraine Prosecutor General's Office under the authority of Deputy Prosecutor General Kulyk announces it has opened a new money laundering investigation against Burisma founder Zlochevsky.

May 16, 2019

Artem Sytnyk, head of Ukraine's National Anticorruption Bureau (NABU), confirms investigations remain open against Burisma and its founder Zlochevsky.

Dec. 9, 2020

Hunter Biden issues a statement via his father's presidential transition office revealing he is under criminal investigation by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Delaware for his "tax affairs." Officials confirm the probe began in 2018.

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