Hunter Biden consulted for a Nigerian-American businessman who tried to buy gold from a wanted Congolese warlord known as "The Terminator," according to emails from Biden’s abandoned laptop.
Biden arranged introductory meetings in 2011 and 2012 for Kase Lawal, the president of CAMAC International, a Houston-based oil company, and the ambassadors of the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, the emails show. Biden partnered with Mike Axelrod, the son of Obama adviser David Axelrod, on the consulting agreement. Lawal was appointed to serve on President Obama’s international trade advisory board in September 2010. Months later, Lawal paid $10 million to purchase gold from Bosco Ntaganda, a Congolese rebel warlord accused by the International Criminal Court of leading an ethnic cleansing campaign.
The consulting deal is another example of Biden securing international business contracts while his father served as vice president. It also highlights Biden’s penchant for working for scandal-plagued clients. In April 2014, Biden joined the board of Burisma Holdings, whose owner was the subject of an international bribery investigation. Biden also struck a $6 million consulting deal with CEFC China Energy, a conglomerate suspected of having ties to Chinese military intelligence. Biden received $1 million to represent a CEFC official who was indicted on charges of trying to bribe two African officials to secure oil drilling rights in 2012.
Biden, who is currently the target of a federal tax investigation, helped arrange the meetings for Lawal even after news reports surfaced that the United Nations accused the billionaire oilman of trying to purchase gold from Ntaganda. The first reports about the gold deal surfaced in early 2011. Lawal never received the gold after paying Ntaganda, but the United Nations issued a report about his efforts in December 2011. The Guardian published a story about the United Nation findings on Feb. 5, 2012.
The negative publicity for Lawal did not deter Biden from helping the oil mogul arrange meetings with Yousef Al Otaiba, the ambassador of the United Arab Emirates. Emails indicate that Biden met with Al Otaiba and Lawal on Jan. 5, 2012. Biden later wrote to Al Otaiba asking him to arrange a meeting with then-Saudi ambassador Adel al-Jubeir. An email from Feb. 22, 2012, shows that Biden’s business partner, Eric Schwerin, informed Biden that a planned meeting with Lawal and the Saudi diplomat had to be delayed.
According to the laptop emails, CAMAC hired Biden’s private equity firm, Rosemont Seneca, in September 2011 to help carry out an unspecified business transaction. The emails indicate that Axelrod had a prior relationship with CAMAC and Lawal. Mark Doyle, a longtime Biden family associate, helped introduce CAMAC and Lawal to the Biden group. Doyle cofounded the pro-Biden Unite the Country PAC during the 2020 presidential campaign.
Axelrod, Biden, and their partners negotiated with CAMAC representatives about the terms of the consulting deal, emails show. On top of a $30,000 per month fee, they stood to earn five percent of the net profits from the transaction CAMAC was seeking. The deal would seemingly have been helped along by Lawal meeting with diplomats from the United Arab Emirates and oil-rich Saudi Arabia.
A lawyer for Biden did not respond to a request for comment. Axelrod, Doyle, and CAMAC also did not respond to requests for comment.
Lawal invoked his Fifth Amendment rights during a deposition for a civil lawsuit filed against him by the owner of the private airplane Lawal used to fly to Congo. A Texas jury ordered Lawal to pay $32.4 million in October 2012 to the owner of the jet, which was seized by Congolese authorities, the Washington Free Beacon reported at the time. The jury also found that CAMAC and two of its employees violated the U.S. Trading with the Enemy Act.
The International Criminal Court indicted Ntaganda in 2008 on a slew of war crime charges. He was convicted in 2019 and sentenced to 30 years in prison, the longest sentence ever handed down by the court.