Joe Biden’s son has announced he will step down from the board of the Chinese company which has put him in the firing line of criticism from Donald Trump.
In his first public comments since the president criticised his work in Ukraine and China, Hunter Biden confirmed he will leave the board of BHR (Shanghai) Equity Investment Fund Management Company.
Mr Trump’s unfounded accusations against the 49-year-old, and his efforts to have the Bidens investigated by Ukrainian officials, have led the Democrats to begin an impeachment inquiry against him.
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Hunter Biden says the allegations made against him bear “little resemblance to the public record”.
He was on the board of a Ukrainian gas company, Burisma, at the same time his father was leading the Obama administration’s diplomatic dealings with Kiev.
In a statement, Mr Biden’s lawyer George Mesires says “vibrant energy production, particularly natural gas, was central to Ukraine’s independence and to stemming the tide of Vladimir Putin’s attack on the principles of a democratic Europe”.
The statement adds: “Hunter joined the board as a non-executive director, meaning he was an independent board member and not a member of the management team. At no time was Hunter in charge of the company’s legal affairs. Like all Burisma directors, Hunter was compensated for his board service.
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“Hunter stepped off Bursima’s board in April, 2019. Despite extensive scrutiny, at no time has any law enforcement agency, either domestic or foreign, alleged that Hunter engaged in wrongdoing at any point during his five-year term.”
Hunter also says that he was not involved in the formation of Chinese firm BHR and did not have any equity in it when his father was vice president of the US.
He did invest $420,000 (£332,000) in the company to obtain equity, but has not profited.
On BHR, the statement adds: “He served only as a member of its board of directors, which he joined based on his interest in seeking ways to bring Chinese capital to international markets. It was an unpaid position.
“Hunter undertook these business activities independently. He did not believe it appropriate to discuss them with his father, nor did he. Hunter always understood that his father would be guided, entirely and unequivocally, by established US policy, irrespective of its effects on Hunter’s professional interests.
“This was the standard observed throughout Hunter’s professional career.”
As well as stepping down from the board of BHR by the end of the month, Mr Biden pledged in his statement not to serve on the boards of any foreign-owned companies if his father becomes president.
Democrats are currently investigating Mr Trump’s dealings with Ukraine and exploring whether he compromised national security or abused his office by seeking information from a foreign country on Hunter Biden.
The impeachment probe was started when a whistle-blower revealed Mr Trump asked Ukraine’s new president Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate the Bidens and Ukraine’s role in the 2016 election that Mr Trump won.
If impeached, Mr Trump could face a trial in the US Senate, which could result in him being removed from office.
Democratic primaries and most hypothetical polls put Mr Trump and Joe Biden at level pegging for the November 2020 election.
Source : Sky News