Former prime minister of Ukraine Mykola Azarov called on the Ukrainian government to probe the activities of U.S. presidential candidate Joe Biden’s son to determine whether he broke Ukrainian law.
“It’s a fact (his directorship and fees) and not made up. It should be investigated so that the ‘i’s can be dotted and the ‘t’s crossed,” Azarov told Reuters.
The story begins in May 2014, Cyprus-registered Burisma Holdings, one of the largest natural gas companies in Ukraine, announced that Hunter Biden had joined its board amid investigations into its owner Mykola Zlochevsky for money laundering and fraud.
Hunter Biden’s compensation was apparently delivered via Rosemont Seneca Bohai LLC, a U.S. company run by Devon Archer who also served as a Burisma director. The company received funds from Burisma and paid more than $850,000 to Hunter from 2014 and 2015, according to Bloomberg.
At the same time, then-Vice President Joe Biden was tapped as the top of U.S. liaison to Ukraine. The U.S. government complained that Ukrainian prosecutors did not do enough to fight corruption in Ukraine. At one point, Biden threatened to withhold a $1 billion loan guarantee unless Viktor Shokin, who served as prosecutor general of the Zlochevsky case, was removed from office. Shokin was removed in March 2016.
“I think it’s essential (he’s investigated),” Azarov said. “If, using his knowledge, he played an active role then there’s nothing scandalous about it. But if he was simply on the books and getting money, then that could be seen as a violation of the law.”
The Bidens have denied any wrongdoing, however, Shokin has said he was forced out at Joe Biden’s request to thwart a probe of Burisma and his son, reported Reuters.
Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) also raised the possibility of an investigation into Biden and his son’s business dealings in Ukraine.
“I’ve got some real legitimate questions about what happened with Vice President Biden, Hunter Biden, what was happening over there. … I have a lot of questions that should be answered,” Johnson, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, told reporters.
Graham, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, called for a probe, saying that he thought someone “should look at corruption.”
“The prosecutor was looking at things in the Ukraine, and he got fired, and there’s all kind of allegations about the Ukraine dumping information into the legal system and political system in 2016 about [Paul] Manafort and others, you know, Hunter Biden, what kind of situation did he have financially?” he asked.
Author: Ann Wilson