Secret tapes and coerced payments: Top 10 Biden-Burisma bombshells from FBI informant memo

The House Oversight Committee previously issued a subpoena to obtain the document, with which FBI Director Christopher Wray did not comply.

Published: July 20, 2023 6:49pm

Updated: July 20, 2023 11:26pm

Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley on Thursday published an unclassified FBI document containing confidential human source information related to an alleged bribery scheme involving Joe and Hunter Biden in which a Ukrainian gas company hired Hunter Biden to secure access to his father to help the firm stifle an investigation into its dealings.

The House Oversight Committee previously issued a subpoena to obtain the document, with which FBI Director Christopher Wray did not comply. Though he ultimately permitted the committee members to view the FD-1023 in a secure location, the contents remained unpublished until Grassley's Thursday release.

The document shows that the bureau had a trusted source privy to Burisma's efforts to quash a probe from then-Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin and its plans to expand to the U.S. and secure a company for IPO purposes.

Here are the key takeaways from the CHS claims outlined in the document.

Burisma Holdings hired Hunter Biden to have his father "protect" the company

During CHS's first meeting with Burisma leaders, senior official Vadim Pojarskii reportedly stated that Burisma had hired Hunter Biden to "protect us, through his dad, from all kinds of problems," though Pojarskii declined to elaborate.

In another meeting, the CHS conversed with CEO Mykola Zlochevsky about President Joe Biden's recent declaration that Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin, who was investigating Burisma at the time, was corrupt and ought to be removed from office.

Zlochevsky, in that instance, told the CHS not to fret about the adverse impact such a declaration may have on Burisma's prospects, saying "[d]on't worry Hunter will take care of all of those issues through his dad."

Biden ultimately succeeded in getting Shokin fired after threatening Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko that he would withhold $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees if he did not remove him.

Burisma feared Shokin's probe would stop its efforts to get publicly traded in the U.S.

The energy company sought to purchase an existing U.S. firm for IPO purposes. An initial public offering refers to the original sale of stock in a company when it first becomes a publicly traded company. Firms often opt to make such a move as a means of raising capital to finance expansion.

The CHS debated the sense of CEO Mykola Zlochevsky's plan to by a U.S. company rather than forming a new U.S. entity or to purchase an already listed corporate shell company to which the CEO retorted that Hunter Biden had advised that such a plan would result in raising more money.

The CHS was concerned about the prospect of raising capital through an IPO in America given the ongoing corruption probe from Shokin and advised Zlochevksy to settle the case in Ukraine, though the Burisma executive dismissed the idea because he was not convinced Burisma would win the case.

Zlochevsky told the CHS that he need to retain Hunter Biden "so everything will be okay" and that the Shokin case "will go away anyway."

Burisma knew Hunter Biden had no experience, thought he was dumb, and sought additional counsel

During the CHS's first meeting with Burisma officials, the company discussed the composition of its board and the aid of the Bidens, to which the CHS questioned why they sought additional assistance.

"Pojarskii replied that Hunter Biden was not smart, and they wanted to get additional counsel," the FBI document reads.

During a subsequent conversation with Zlochevsky, the CHS advised him to at least hire more conventional U.S. oil and gas advisors, citing the Bidens' lack of experience in the industry.

Zlochevsky acknowledged the Bidens' shortcomings, called Hunter stupid, and suggested that the Burisma CEO's dog was smarter than the first son.

The CHS believed the payments made to the Bidens were 'illicit' in nature

During the conversation with Zlochevsky, the CHS asked as to Burisma's efforts to purchase a U.S. company to secure a listing on the stock exchange. The company had sought to purchase a U.S. entity, an effort with which the CHS took issue due to the expense. The CHS proposed alternate approaches amid the ongoing investigation and discussed the legal prospects of Burisma in relation to Shokin's investigation.

The CEO dismissed the CHS proposal that they pay a lawyer $50,000 to litigate the case in Ukraine, an idea that elicited laughs from Zlochevsky, who quipped as to the expense related to paying the Biden's to handle matters.

"[I]t cost 5 (million) to pay one Biden, and 5 (million) to another Biden," he said. CHS repeatedly warned Zlochevsky against retaining Hunter Biden and not to make an international incident of the Shokin case, though Zlochevsky contended that it was too late to change course and that both Joe and Hunter had pressed him to keep Hunter on the board.

"Don't worry, this thing will go away anyway," the Burisma executive added. 

The CHS inferred from the "too late" comment that Zlochevsky had already paid the Bidens, presumably to "deal with Shokin" and asked that Zlochevsky keep the CHS out of Biden-related matters. CHS advised Burisma to fire Hunter Biden and told Zlochevsky not to pay them, stating that to do so would complicate matters.

Burisma executives believed they had been coerced into hiring Hunter

During a phone call after the 2016 presidential election, Zlochevksy expressed disappointment in former President Donald Trump's victory, prompting the CHS to press the Burisma CEO on whether he was worried about the company's connection with the Bidens.

Zlochevsky retorted that he had not wanted to pay the Bidens and that he was "pushed to pay" them. The term Zlochevsky used, according to the CHS, was Russian slang for a coerced payment.

During that conversation, Zlochevsky indicated he had recordings and messages related to being forced to pay the Bidens and asked the CHS whether it would make a legal difference if he had been forced to make the payments or did so voluntarily.

Zlochevsky bragged he had covered his tracks on the Biden payments

The Burisma CEO questioned the CHS during the 2019 phone call as to whether CHS was an "oracle" in light of CHS's prior advice not to pay the Bidens and reports of investigations into their links with the company.

It was during this exchange that Zlochevsky confirmed he had not made any payments directly to the "Big Guy" and bragged that "it would take them (Investigators) 10 years to find the records (i.e. illicit payments to Joe Biden)," the FD-1023 reads.

The FBI received a lead involving cryptocurrency

The FD-1023 includes information regarding Oleksandr Ostapenko that noted he worked in the administration of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the time and also for Valery Vavilov, the founder of cryptocurrency and blockchain firm BitFury.

Former FBI Assistant Director of Intelligence Kevin Brock pointed to the use of cryptocurrency for covert payments and suggested it might form a lead to trace the payments.

"Using cryptocurrency back in 2015, 2016, was still kind of new and leading edge," he said on the "Just the News, No Noise" television show. "The advantage of cryptocurrency is it does afford a degree of anonymity, but there's still money trail. It's a ledger-based system."

"So any payments, once you know who's making the payment and you've got the Bitcoin numbers, you can ... follow that money and you can see how it is laundered and how it's cashed out and converted back into normal crash and where it goes from there. So it's not impossible to follow cryptocurrency trails," he added.

The FBI long knew that Joe's associates called him the "Big Guy"

During a 2019 phone call, Zlochevsky referred to Joe Biden as the "Big Guy" while claiming to have never sent any payments directly to him. The CHS understood the term to reference Biden.

Given that the CHS date of contact was June 30, 2020, the form seems indicate that the bureau was aware that Biden's business associates referred to him as such well before Hunter Biden business partner Tony Bobulinski came forward to make the claim.

Bobulinski came forward in October 2020 in connection with the notorious business deal involving the now-defunct CEFC China Energy company. Bobulinski confirmed the legitimacy of a 2017 email stated "10 held by H for the big guy," which he stated was a reference to Joe Biden.

The FBI began receiving information on the Bidens and Burisma as early as 2017

A footnote in the FD-1023 refers to a March 1, 2017, exchange in which the CHS reported some of the information and stated that Zlochevsky briefly discussed Hunter Biden, but that his comments had not been related to the company's efforts to purchase a U.S. firm. CHS also acknowledged that Burisma assigned Pojarskii to manage that effort.

The bureau's former intelligence chief believes the memo warrants a criminal investigation of Joe Biden

During an appearance on the "Just the News, No Noise" television show on Thursday, former FBI Assistant Director of Intelligence Kevin Brock opined that the allegations detailed in the memo would warrant a criminal investigation into the president.

"You have enough here for a full field criminal investigation. No doubt," he said. "But beyond that, we have assertions by the CHS that the CEO of Burisma, Zlochevsky... tape recorded a lot of the conversations that he had with Hunter Biden to include two conversations directly with Joe Biden. The FBI needs to know what's on those tapes."

Zlochevsky claims to have 17 recordings related to the Bidens, two of which include Joe Biden while 15 feature only Hunter. He also claimed to possess documents, which the CHS believed were bank records and wire transfer statements, to prove that the payments occurred.

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