Hunter Biden, the son of US President Joe Biden, admitted that he was probably recruited to the board of directors of the Ukrainian company Burisma, which drew criticism against his father last year, because they saw his name as “gold.”
In an interview with the BBC released Tuesday on the occasion of the publication of his new memoir, “Beautiful Things,” Hunter Biden partially confirmed allegations by Republicans that he benefited from his family’s name when his father was vice president.
The Democratic president’s son insisted that he had a successful business career regardless of his father’s position as senator from Delaware.
But he said for the first time that his appointment to the board of the huge Ukrainian energy company in 2014, when his father was vice president in the Barack Obama administration, was probably linked “in large part” to his name. “I think they saw my name as gold,” he told the BBC.
Biden served on the board of directors, earning more than $ 50,000 a month, from 2014 to 2019.
That year his father began preparing his candidacy for the presidency and it was learned that advisers to then-President Donald Trump searched Ukraine for information that could harm the Bidens.
Later in 2019, Trump pressured the Ukrainian government to provide him with information to support the corruption allegations against the Bidens, an act that led to the former president’s first impeachment trial.
Hunter Biden told the BBC that the timing of his hiring by Burisma was related to Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea and its alleged support for rebels in eastern Ukraine.
The Russians, Biden said, wanted to seize Ukraine’s natural resources and an oil pipeline, and Burisma felt vulnerable.
“I know Burisma wanted to do something. They wanted to create a bulwark against that Russian aggression,” he said. “They knew they had to expand internationally and in other sectors in order to diversify and protect themselves. Biden’s name is synonymous with democracy and transparency, and that’s why I said it was gold for them.”
The president’s son claimed that his work on the company’s board of directors had focused “100%” on business management and transparency issues.
In the interview, Hunter Biden did not explain his business relationships with a well-connected Russian woman and a Chinese investment fund, which Republicans said also benefited from his connections.
pmh / caw / gma / lda