By Zachary Stieber
Payments from Chinese entities to businesses owned by President Joe Biden’s son raised concerns with a bank investigator, who said one of the businesses was apparently providing no services in exchange for the money, according to documents released on Nov. 29.
In a June 26, 2018, email, the investigator said they had been monitoring a law firm owned by Hunter Biden, Owasco P.C., and recent wire transfers from a Chinese company and Hudson West III, Mr. Biden’s joint venture with a Chinese businessman.
The $5 million initially sent to Hudson West was described as a business loan, but “there was no loan agreement document submitted,” the investigator, whose name and bank were redacted, wrote in the message.
The bulk of the funds were sent to Owasco across 16 wires, with labeling that they were for management fees and reimbursements.
“We find it unusual that approximately 58 percent of the funds were transferred to the law firm in a few months and the frequency of the payments appear erratic,” the investigator said. “It was also previously indicated that Hudson West III LLC does not currently have any investment projects at this time, which raises further concerns as millions in fees are being paid but does not appear to have any services rendered by Owasco PC.”
The investigator also highlighted how Mr. Biden was the son of then-former Vice President Joe Biden; that there were allegations—since confirmed by Mr. Biden—that Mr. Biden was spending extravagantly on drugs, strip clubs, and prostitutes; and that there were concerns over the Chinese regime “targeting children of politicians and purchasing of political influence through ‘sweetheart deals.'”
“Specifically, Hunter Biden’s $1.5 billion dollar deal with the Chinese-State to establish a private-equity firm in which they manage the funds over time and make huge fees,” the investigator wrote. “The management company’s purpose is to invest in companies that benefit [the] Chinese government. Thus, the activity on the account appears unusual with no current business purpose.”
The investigator suggested reevaluating the bank’s relationship with Mr. Biden.
Mr. Biden’s lawyer didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Mr. Biden has previously defended his business dealings that occurred while his father was vice president and before his father became president, saying he did nothing wrong.
The email was released by the House Oversight Committee, which has been probing Mr. Biden’s actions and their connections to President Biden. Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), chairman of the panel, obtained the email through a subpoena, according to the committee.
‘Shady China Dealings’
“Long before our investigation into President Biden’s corruption, a bank money laundering investigator raised the exact concerns that we raised publicly about the Biden family business,” Mr. Comer said in a statement.
“Even worse, we know that the sitting president of the United States knew about, participated in, and benefited from his family’s shady China dealings. Joe Biden showed up to his son’s CEFC meetings and benefited from the money wired from China. The White House and their Corporate Media allies’ efforts to excuse and coverup [sic] this blatant corruption is appalling to the American people. House Republicans will continue to unearth the facts and provide the accountability the American people deserve.”
Northern International Capital Holdings was affiliated with CEFC, which was a Chinese energy company.
Republicans say records that they obtained established that $40,000 sent by the wife of James Biden, President Biden’s brother, to the then-former vice president in 2017 and labeled as a loan repayment originated in China as part of the $5 million for Hudson West.
The White House and a lawyer for James Biden have defended the transaction, saying it was a normal loan repayment.
Democrats on the House Oversight Committee reacted to the newly disclosed email by accusing Republicans of omitting important context. Democrats released additional emails, including one that shows an assistant vice president at the bank that employed the investigator saying payments were wired to Owasco as part of the company’s operating agreement.
“Unfortunately, the information does not help much as it reiterates that there’s [sic] payments to Owasco per operating agreement, but it still does not indicate any reason for the large payments as management fees, when this entity does not have any stated project,” the investigator responded.
In a follow-up message, the bank’s assistant vice president said the bank spoke with Mervyn Yan, the Chinese businessman operating Hudson West with Mr. Biden. Mr. Yan said Hudson West was working on “sourcing large projects, including LNG, shale, solar, and port infrastructures in US, hence the carrying cost is very high.”
He alleged that the firm was in negotiations for deals in Louisiana, Texas, California, and Pennsylvania.
“To the extent that where are no guarantees incomes derived from any of these negotiations, only time will tell, and subject to further roadshow and capital raising in China and other market markets,” Mr. Yan was quoted as saying. “The typical deals size we are considering is over 500 millions and more. It is time consuming and a lot of efforts spent. The expenses are inline with these types of high risk high return venture activities.”
A later email from the bank states that an official spoke with an expert and that she thought the activity was “reasonable and consistent with the business profile.”
The expert “does not see any signs of bribery as the activity is clearly written in the operating agreement,” the message states. She also assessed that “the activity does not appear unusual.”