Sen. Chuck Grassley says President Biden’s brother James “Jim” Biden is a prime focus of investigators reviewing first son Hunter Biden’s foreign business deals.
Grassley (R-Iowa) co-authored a September 2020 report with Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) on the Biden family’s business pursuits. The two senators released a supplemental report that November and recently took to the Senate floor to reveal banking records detailing Jim Biden’s role in Chinese-linked business ventures.
“We have people with the Biden name dealing with Chinese business people that have a relationship to the Communist Party [and] I think James Biden was very much a part of this,” Grassley told CBS News in an interview Wednesday.
The documents unveiled by Johnson and Grassley revealed that Hunter Biden and Jim Biden received monthly payments of $100,000 and $65,000, respectively, as part of an August 2017 consulting agreement between the now-first son and Gongwen Dong, a top official at CEFC China Energy.
The documents also indicate that Jim Biden’s company, the Lion Hall Group, received payments directly from Hudson West III, a company jointly owned at the time by Hunter Biden’s law firm Owasco and Coldharbour Capital LLC, which Johnson and Grassley’s September 2020 report linked to Dong.
Other payments to Lion Hall were funneled through Owasco — nearly $1.4 million between August 2017 and 2018. The money movement caught the attention of US banks, which CBS reported had flagged as suspicious more than 150 transactions involving Hunter or Jim Biden.
Jim Biden’s involvement in Hunter’s business pursuits is well-known, but a less frequent subject of media and political attention. Grassley’s remarks raise the possibility that the president’s brother will also come under GOP focus next year if Republicans win the midterm elections.
Hunter Biden revealed in December 2020 that he is under federal tax investigation, and the New York Times recently reported that he paid more than $1 million in back taxes in a bid to avoid prosecution as authorities also consider possible money laundering and foreign lobbying charges.
It’s unclear to what extent federal prosecutors are reviewing Jim Biden’s work with his nephew.
Jim Biden worked closely with Hunter on some — but not all — of his overseas business pursuits, including with CEFC, which the Washington Post reported last month paid the uncle and nephew $4.8 million in 2017 and 2018.
Former Hunter Biden business partner Tony Bobulinski said in October 2020 that he spoke with Joe Biden in May 2017 after being introduced by Hunter, who reportedly described Bobulinski as “the one who’s helping us with the business we’re doing with the Chinese.”
A May 13, 2017, email recovered from a laptop that formerly belonged to Hunter indicated that the “big guy” would get a 10% equity stake in a corporate entity established with CEFC.
Bobulinski alleges that the president was the “big guy.”
According to Bobulinski, the former vice president told him, “Keep an eye on my son and brother and look out for my family.”
Emails also show that in September 2017, Hunter Biden asked for a new sign and more keys to an office he was renting in DC’s House of Sweden office building. The sign was to say, “The Biden Foundation and Hudson West (CEFC-US)” and the keys were for his father, stepmother Jill Biden, uncle Jim and Dong. A spokeswoman for the agency that oversees the property told the Washington Post, however, that the sign was never changed and the keys were not picked up.
Jim Biden also openly boasted about selling influence to his older brother as he and Hunter Biden sought to take over a hedge fund based in New York in 2006, according to the 2021 book “The Bidens: Inside the First Family’s Fifty-Year Rise to Power” by Politico reporter Ben Schreckinger.
“Don’t worry about investors,” Jim Biden allegedly told a corporate executive. “We’ve got people all around the world who want to invest in Joe Biden … We’ve got investors lined up in a line of 747s ﬁlled with cash ready to invest in this company.”
Joe Biden’s son Beau, who died in 2015, reportedly scolded his uncle in response, saying: “This can never leave this room. And if you ever say it again, I will have nothing to do with this.”
Some of the first son’s business ventures do not appear to involve his uncle.
For example, Hunter Biden co-founded a Chinese investment firm called BHR Partners in 2013 less than two weeks after flying with his father to Beijing aboard Air Force Two. Hunter introduced Joe Biden to BHR CEO Jonathan Li in the lobby of a hotel in China’s capital. The fund is controlled in part by state-owned entities and facilitated the 2016 sale for $3.8 billion of a Congolese cobalt mine from a US company to the firm China Molybdenum. Cobalt is a key component in electric car batteries.
Hunter Biden’s attorney Chris Clark said in November 2021 — less than a week after President Biden’s 3 1/2-hour virtual summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping — that his client had finally divested his 10% stake in BHR Partners, but offered no further details. The White House declined to share any details of the alleged transactions and referred reporters to Clark, who did not respond to inquiries.
Joe Biden’s role as vice president also intertwined with his son’s business relationships in Kazakhstan, Mexico, Russia and Ukraine.
In Ukraine, Hunter Biden was paid a reported $1 million per year to serve on the board of Ukrainian gas company Burisma, founded by corrupt pro-Russia oligarch Mykola Zlochevsky, while his vice president dad led the Obama administration’s Ukraine policy.
Although Joe Biden claimed in 2019 that he’d “never spoken” with his son about “his overseas business dealings,” that statement was directly contradicted when The Post reported in October 2020 that Burisma executive Vadym Pozharskyi emailed Hunter in 2015 to thank him for the opportunity to meet his father.
A photo and emails subsequently reported by The Post indicate Joe Biden attended a 2015 dinner at DC’s Cafe Milano with a group of his son’s associates — including Pozharskyi, a trio of Kazakhs and Russian billionaire Yelena Baturina and her husband, ex-Moscow mayor Yury Luzhkov. Baturina is Russia’s richest woman, and the 2020 report from Grassley and Johnson alleges that in 2014, she paid $3.5 million to a firm associated with Hunter Biden.