Biden releases plan to combat corruption, amid ongoing questions on son Hunter's business dealings
Initial proposals outlined in a 38-page U.S. national security strategy on countering corruption
The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook
The Biden administration on Monday set forth a plan to crack down on domestic and international corruption, amid ongoing concerns about the questionable business dealings of President Biden’s son Hunter Biden inside and outside of the U.S.
The initial proposals are outlined in a 38-page U.S. national security strategy on countering corruption.
Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo pledged an "aggressive" push against suspicious all-cash home transactions, moves to beef up enforcement and intensified collaboration with allies, according to Reuters.
"Our real estate markets are at risk of becoming a safe haven for criminals, kleptocrats and others seeking to park corrupt profits," he said at a speech at the Brookings Institute think tank in Washington, D.C.
He pointed out current law allows people to form companies anonymously for all-cash real estate deals that hide the source of funds, ahead of this week’s U.S. Summit for Democracy.
All-cash real estate deals account for about one-third of all U.S. home sales, according to the National Association of Realtors, the wire service also reports.
Biden in June ordered officials to step up the fight against corruption.
In February, Hunter Biden still had a financial investment in a venture with the Communist China government.
He reportedly still owned a 10% stake in Bohai Harvest RST, a Chinese investment firm formed in partnership with Chinese state-owned entities.
Just prior to the 2020 presidential election, then-Democratic nominee Joe Biden pledged that no one in his family would "have any business relationship with anyone that relates to a foreign corporation or a foreign country."
Hunter Biden's overseas business affairs came under close scrutiny during the election cycle, particularly his high-paying board position, in part while his father was vice president, on the Burisma Holdings natural gas company in Ukraine.
Biden also confirmed in December 2020 that he is under investigation by federal prosecutors in Delaware for his "tax affairs."
More recently, concerns have been raised about Biden, a relatively novice artist, using his father's power and fame to sell paintings well above their market value and whether buyers are paying so much money that they might use the situation to try to buy influence.
During a Capitol Hill hearing in October, Colorado GOP Rep. Ken Buch asked Attorney General Merrick Garland to appoint a special counsel to investigate the art sales.
The Treasury Department is drafting new rules to close loopholes and require disclosures from certain types of U.S. and foreign companies to identify who is behind all-cash real estate transactions and see if those purchases are being used to shelter illegal profits.
The agency may also require more investment funds including hedge funds engage in anti-money laundering efforts, Reuters also reports.
Adeyemo said the agency had sanctioned 216 targets using anti-corruption authorities, including Monday's designation of a Democratic Republic of Congo national accused of providing funds to blacklisted Israeli investor Dan Gertler.
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