Anatomy of a Hunter Biden business deal involving Ukraine (It's not Burisma!)
Memos show dizzying array of firms, $275,000 cash payment, and flagged transaction following interaction with indicted oligarch's team in 2015.
The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook
- according to emails and interviews published last week by Just the News
- sent more than $3 million
- Johnson said
- convicted felons
- Devon Archer, Jason Galanis, Bevan Cooney,
- Chinese businessman Patrick Ho
- pulled the plug
- Code Rebel had an IPO
In his new memoir, Hunter Biden declares there is a simple explanation for a life filled with addiction to drugs and alcohol. "I have the capacity and tenacity to use to excess, and a single-minded unwillingness to quit," he writes. "That makes addiction easy, rather than hard."
Unraveling his extensive deals with foreign characters — some with controversial histories — while his father was in government, however, is a more complex story.
And no other anecdote illustrates that better than Hunter Biden's brief engagement with a fugitive Ukrainian oligarch's team in 2015, one that began with discussions about lobbying his father's administration to make an indictment go away and ended with a separate $3 million deal and a handsome $275,000 transfer into a firm that routinely paid the younger Biden.
Following the money is a dizzying exercise, with multiple business firms and bank accounts and a discussion about one deal that ends with payment for another business opportunity.
The tale begins in April 2015, when Hunter Biden got an email from his business partner — the now-convicted felon Devon Archer — about a plan to assist the oligarch Dmitri Firtash, a Ukrainian who was under U.S. indictment by the Obama-Biden administration, and at the time, a fugitive.
The goal was to see whether Firtash's felony indictment could be erased or eased with the help of the Obama-Biden State Department, where Hunter Biden's father held much sway and where the vice president's longtime national security adviser, Tony Blinken, served as deputy secretary under John Kerry, according to emails and interviews published last week by Just the News.
By June 2015, the discussions had evolved enough that a member of Firtash's inner circle — childhood friend Hares Youssef — traveled to the United States to meet with Hunter Biden. Eventually, Biden told Youssef that he could not help on the Firtash case, and the conversation evolved to how Hunter Biden and his partner Archer might be able to help Youssef with one of his companies aspiring to create micropayment donations technology, Youssef told Just the News.
Youssef said Archer introduced him to a technology fund in Hawaii called mbloom and persuaded him to invest. By September 2015, Youssef said he was investing $3 million os his own money in mbloom, a transfer that got immediately flagged by U.S. banking officials, according to a Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) filed with the Treasury Department and first revealed in the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists' FinCEN Files.
After Youssef's money reached America, mbloom transferred much of the money to an affiliate company called mbloom BDC Advisor LLC, according to the the SAR report cited by the FinCen Files Web site. And mbloom BDC Advisors LLC sent $275,000 to a company controlled by Archer called Rosemont Seneca Bohai LLC, according to records obtained by the FBI.
If Rosemont Seneca Bohai LLC sounds familiar, it's because that was the firm to which the Ukrainian gas company Burisma sent more than $3 million in payments after Hunter Biden joined its board, a relationship that started the whole Hunter Biden scandal and eventually became embroiled in Donald Trump's first impeachment.
Hunter Biden routinely took payments of tens of thousands of dollars from Rosemont Seneca Bohai in 2014 and 2015. One of those payments occurred less than a week after mbloom BDC Advisors LLC sent a transfer to the Rosemont Seneca Bohai account/
One deal evolves to another, money comes from overseas and hops across an array of companies and accounts — and Hunter Biden ends up with some cash.
It's a pattern that congressional investigators — who examined Hunter Biden's extensive deals with China, Ukraine and Russia — say was repeated several times.
The Senate Homeland and Governmental Affairs Committee staff spent more than a year investigating Hunter Biden's businesses before concluding last fall that the Biden family may have been compromised by foreign dealings. Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson, who chaired the committee at the time, told Just the News that he realized just how complicated the Biden family deals were when his staff came across a half dozen or more entities all named Hudson West.
"It gets extremely difficult to unravel all these things," Johnson said. "If you take a look at this, your head starts swimming of all the different entities. For example, Hudson West. There are eight or nine different Hudson West companies, right? It's hard to keep all this stuff straight. And that's the exact purpose of it, to try and hide it through multiple different transactions."
While much is complex, some themes are recurring. Money flows to Hunter Biden-connected entities and associates from foreign countries like Ukraine, Russia, and China where his father had primary policy responsibility. Some of the people Hunter Biden engaged in the business end up as convicted felons, including Devon Archer, Jason Galanis, Bevan Cooney, and even the Chinese businessman Patrick Ho. And some of the companies in the network end up in legal controversy.
For instance, Rosemont Seneca Bohai ultimately was subpoenaed by the FBI and became a focal point in the trial that led to the conviction of Archer and others. Hunter Biden was not accused of wrongdoing in that case.
Mbloom had its own controversy. Just a few short months after Youssef says he sent his money, the firm abruptly shut down. Youssef told Just the News he lost all but $275,000 of his investment. Hawaii officials who invested in the fund blamed the "unwanted attention" of Archer's indictment for the closure.
Mbloom began as a joint-venture between the Hawaiian Strategic State Development Corporation (HSDC) and Rosemont Seneca Technology Partners (which was run by Archer and once listed Hunter Biden as an advisor). An attorney and spokesman for Hunter Biden claims that Biden "severed his relationship" with Rosemont Seneca Technology Partners prior to this fall 2015 transaction. But emails from a purported Hunter Biden laptop seized by the FBI suggest the younger Biden remained involved with Rosemont Technology Partners well after 2015.
For instance, a March 2017 email addressed to Hunter Biden as an "investor" provided tax records for three Rosemont Seneca Technology Partners funds. And an April 2016 email exchange involving Hunter Biden referred to "our colleagues at RSTP" and claimed RSTP wasn't interested in the investment opportunity.
Rosemont Seneca Technology Partners invested $5 million in mbloom and the HSDC provided "the other half," according to author and journalist Peter Schweizer, who first exposed the mbloom deal. Schweizer reported that at least $3 million of the HSDC's mbloom funding came from a federal program called the Treasury Department State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI), "which was run by a longtime Biden aide named Don Graves."
In 2016, Hawaii pulled the plug on HSDC’s mbloom investment. "The unwelcome attention from the beginning altered the direction of the fund," HSDC president Karl Fooks explained. It remains unclear exactly how much Hawaiians and U.S. taxpayers lost in money from the mbloom deal.
Mbloom was run by Arben Kryeziu (or Arben Kane), a Kosovo-born German citizen who has not replied to Just the News' requests for comment. On May 18, 2015, Kryeziu established the mbloom BDC Advisor LLC affiliate. One day later, a small tech company — also run by Kryeziu — called Code Rebel had an IPO on the Nasdaq stock exchange.
According to the SEC, business partners of Hunter Biden, including Archer, used the proceeds from a Native American tribal bond scheme to buy up to 87% of the Code Rebel stock on May 19, 2015, driving the stock up from its $5 offering price to $15 a share.
Indeed, on May 20, 2015, Archer forwarded an article to Hunter Biden boasting that "Code Rebel Completes NASDAQ IPO; Shares….Up 217% in Debut."
You can read that here.
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