A Romanian businessman charged in a bribery scheme funneled more than $1 million to Hunter Biden and other Biden family members as then-vice president Joe Biden preached anti-corruption measures in Romania, according to a House Oversight Committee investigation.
The businessman, Gabriel Popoviciu, wired more than $3 million to the account of longtime Biden associate Rob Walker from November 2015 to May 2017. Of that, Walker wired $1,038,627 to the accounts of Hunter Biden, his uncle Jim Biden, and his late brother's widow, Hallie Biden. Sixteen of the 17 wire payments were made while Joe Biden was in office, according to the House report.
Biden was in Romania in 2014, a year before the payments began, and called corruption a "cancer" and a "form of tyranny" before the Romanian prime minister and parliament. The May 21, 2014, speech caught the eye of Rep. James Comer (R., Ky.), the chairman of the House Oversight Committee.
This is the latest example of a scandal-plagued foreign national paying Hunter Biden during his father's White House tenure. Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company investigated for bribery, hired the younger Biden to serve on its board of directors in 2014, when Joe Biden was in charge of anti-corruption initiatives in Ukraine.
"While Vice President Biden was lecturing Romania on anti-corruption policy, in reality he was a walking billboard for his son and family to collect money," Comer said at a press conference Wednesday.
Republicans called on the Justice Department to investigate what they called a massive money-laundering operation, in which more than $10 million in foreign money was funneled to the Biden family through a network of shell companies. In addition to the Popoviciu wires, Republicans detailed millions of dollars in wire transfers to Biden family entities from the Chinese energy conglomerate CEFC China Energy.
Republicans noted that Joe Biden publicly pressured Romanian leaders on corruption while his son was taking millions from a scandal-plagued businessman. In September 2015, a year after his trip to Romania, the then-vice president discussed anti-corruption initiatives with Romanian president Klaus Iohannis at the White House.
Hunter Biden and his associates began working for Popoviciu in 2015, as Popoviciu faced an investigation for fraud and bribery. The younger Biden recruited former FBI director Louis Freeh, a longtime family friend, to work on the case. Freeh leaned on his FBI contacts, State Department officials, and Romanian officials to intervene in the case, according to emails from Hunter Biden's abandoned laptop.
Popoviciu in 2017 was sentenced to seven years in prison on charges of fraud and bribery.
Comer said Wednesday that the information about Popoviciu's wire transfers came from bank records, which the Oversight Committee subpoenaed as part of its investigation into the Biden family's foreign business deals. Comer said he plans to subpoena additional bank documents as the investigation shifts into a "new phase."
Republicans said they are also investigating Hunter Biden's relationship with Vuk Jeremić, a former Serbian foreign minister who worked for CEFC China Energy. Jeremić contacted Biden in December 2015 to arrange a meeting with CEFC chairman Ye Jianming, according to emails from Biden's abandoned laptop.
Republicans said that State Energy HK, a subsidiary of CEFC, made $3 million in "suspect donations" to Jeremić's Serbia-based think tank, the Center for International Relations and Sustainable Development, in 2015 and 2016. State Energy HK in 2017 wired $3 million to Rob Walker's company, of which around $1 million was wired to Biden family accounts.
In June 2016, Hunter Biden arranged for Jeremić to meet his father's then-national security adviser, Colin Kahl, as Jeremić sought support for his campaign for United Nations secretary general, the Washington Free Beacon reported.
Jeremić and Hunter Biden both worked with Patrick Ho, a CEFC executive who was convicted in 2018 of attempting to bribe African officials for oil drilling rights. Jeremić arranged Ho's meeting with the African officials. CEFC paid Biden $1 million to provide legal services to Ho.
Republicans said that Jeremić declined to cooperate with the Oversight Committee but that they intend to obtain documents from Jeremić about his relationship with CEFC, Hunter Biden, and Kahl.