Hunter Biden is linked to two Chinese state oil companies looking to buy stakes in a Russian energy firm that has been sanctioned over Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
Sinopec and China National Petroleum Corporation are in discussions with Beijing to invest in Russian gas giant Gazprom, Bloomberg reported Tuesday. Biden has done business with both Chinese firms, which hope to take advantage of deep discounts in the company’s shares in order to shore up their energy and commodity stockpiles. He may still hold an indirect investment in Sinopec.
The connections highlight longstanding concerns that Biden’s foreign entanglements help America’s adversaries. Biden met in 2011 with an executive from China National Petroleum Corporation to discuss the potential purchase of an oil field in Africa, the Washington Free Beacon reported. Biden met with the executive, Ge Aiji, even after he was told that the company had helped Iran, Sudan, and others evade U.S. sanctions.
Biden is connected to Sinopec through BHR Partners, a private equity firm he cofounded in 2013. BHR bought a $1.7 billion stake in Sinopec Marketing in 2015. Biden at one point owned a 10 percent stake in BHR Partners through his wholly owned firm, Skaneateles, LLC.
A lawyer for Biden told the New York Times in December that Biden no longer holds a stake in BHR or Skaneateles. But the Washington Examiner reported this week that Chinese business records still list Biden’s firm as a BHR shareholder, and Washington, D.C., records still show Biden as the firm's owner. The Examiner noted that the Chinese database may not have been updated to remove Skaneatles. Biden’s attorney did not respond to a request for clarification from the Free Beacon.
The Biden administration sanctioned Gazprom and more than a dozen companies last month in hopes of depriving Putin of money to fund the Ukraine war. The administration has also blocked a Gazprom-backed pipeline, Nord Stream 2, that would transport natural gas from Russia to Germany.
Beijing is also weighing a stake in Rusal, a Russian aluminum conglomerate that was sanctioned in 2018. China’s purchase of Russian businesses and Russian commodities would provide a lifeline to Moscow at a time when the government is trying to fund its illegal war. Any deal would likely upset the Biden administration, which warned China this week against helping Russia circumvent sanctions.
Biden has worked on several other deals that would help China meet its energy goals. CEFC China Energy paid Biden at least $6 million to find investment opportunities in energy companies in the United States and elsewhere in the West. Of that sum, the company paid Biden $1 million to represent an executive that was charged with trying to bribe African officials to buy oil drilling rights in their countries.
Biden was invested in BHR Partners when the company arranged a deal that allowed state-owned China Molybdenum to buy one of the world's largest supplies of cobalt, a precious metal used to make batteries for electric cars. BHR Partners also facilitated the sale of Michigan-based Henniges Automotive to AVIC, a Chinese defense contractor that has been sanctioned by the U.S. government because of its ties to the People’s Liberation Army.
Biden is under federal investigation over his taxes and foreign business dealings.