An Israeli think tank executive claims he told the FBI in 2019 that members of the Biden family warned a Chinese energy executive about a coming federal investigation, allowing him to flee the country before being placed under arrest.
Gal Luft, the co-director of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security, a Washington-based foreign policy think tank, provided the "explosive" details to the FBI and Justice Department in March 2019, according to his lawyer. Sources close to Luft told the Jewish News Service members of the Biden family "tipped…off" their Chinese partner, China Energy Fund Committee chairman Ye Jianming, that he was the target of an FBI probe.
The details emerge as House Republicans have homed in on the Biden family’s dealings with CEFC China, and amid an ongoing Justice Department probe of the troubled first son. Republicans released a report last week that a close friend of the Biden family, Rob Walker, wired millions of dollars from a CEFC-linked company in 2017 to Hunter Biden, his uncle Jim Biden, and his sister-in-law, Hallie Biden.
The timing of Luft’s incendiary claims are certain to draw scrutiny. He came forward with allegations about the Bidens last month after the Justice Department sought his extradition from Cyprus on charges of illegal arms trafficking. Luft denies the charges and alleges that the "DOJ is trying to bury me to protect Joe, Jim & Hunter Biden."
While Luft’s specific allegations have yet to be verified, there is evidence that he has direct insight into CEFC’s affairs. There is also reason to believe that he met with the FBI and Justice Department as he claims. His lawyer, former U.S. assistant attorney Robert Henoch, said in filings to the Justice Department under penalty of perjury that he accompanied Luft during his 2019 meeting with FBI and Justice Department officials. Henoch has called Luft a "whistleblower" and said he planned to submit letters to Congress with details of Luft’s case and his meeting with investigators.
The Washington Free Beacon reported that Luft served as an adviser to CEFC China Energy during the same time span that the energy conglomerate paid millions of dollars to the Biden family for business consulting and legal services. CEFC, which is widely suspected to be a front for the Chinese Communist Party, paid Luft’s think tank $350,000 to collaborate on events to promote China’s Belt and Road infrastructure project. Ye, the chairman of CEFC, served on the board of trustees for the institute, which included former high-level intelligence officials like ex-CIA director James Woolsey and Robert McFarlane, a national security adviser for former president Ronald Reagan.
Luft and Biden worked closely with Patrick Ho, the head of CEFC’s think tank, the China Energy Fund Committee. A former employee of that think tank, David Riccardi-Zhu, told the Free Beacon that he frequently saw Ho with Luft and Woolsey, who served under former president Bill Clinton. Ho organized several events for Luft and his think tank to promote the Belt and Road Initiative and various clean energy initiatives.
CEFC China hired Hunter Biden in November 2017 to represent Ho after his arrest on charges that he tried to bribe African officials on behalf of CEFC. Biden, who received $1 million for the legal work, appeared to suspect that Ho worked for Chinese intelligence. In May 2018, Biden referred to Ho as the "fucking spy chief of China" in a voice recording. Emails from Biden’s laptop show that he spoke to FBI agents about Ho after his arrest in November 2017.
CEFC China, which first approached Biden in 2015, also paid the first son and his uncle, Jim, around $5 million for consulting projects. While Biden appears not to have inked any major business deals for the energy conglomerate, he developed a close relationship with Ye, who gave Biden an $80,000 diamond during a meeting in New York City. Biden associates have said they believe CEFC targeted Biden as part of an intelligence-gathering operation for the Chinese government.
In an additional layer of intrigue, Hunter Biden claimed in an October 2017 text message to be an attorney for Ye Jianming, according to a November 2020 Senate report. Biden wrote in 2017 that he had signed an attorney-client agreement with Ye, and that he was helping the businessman "on a number of his personal issues" including "staff visas and some more sensitive things."
Luft’s fate remains to be seen. His attorneys have called on Israeli authorities to intervene in Cyprus to block his extradition to the United States. Rep. James Comer (R., Ky.), the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, said this month that he is investigating Luft’s claims and has been in contacts with his lawyers. Comer’s office did not respond to questions about the status of those negotiations or whether Luft has shared the new information with congressional investigators.
Luft alleges that federal agents have not contacted him since his initial meeting in 2019. That would make him at least the second potential Biden witness to claim that investigators have ignored information about the Bidens’ dealings with CEFC China. Tony Bobulinski, a former Hunter Biden associate, has said that he provided FBI officials with information about the Bidens in October 2020 but has not had any follow-up meetings. Bobulinski has released text messages which show that he met with Hunter, Jim, and Joe Biden in May 2017 to discuss CEFC. This contradicts President Biden’s claims that he had no knowledge of his son’s business activities.
The Justice Department and FBI did not respond to requests for comment. Lawyers for Biden did not respond to requests for comment.