Ukraine’s top prosecutor on Friday said he is reopening all of his predecessors’ closed cases, including corruption probes of the gas company where Vice President Joseph R. Biden’s son had a high-paying job on the board of directors.
The corruption allegations in Ukraine are at the center of a House impeachment inquiry of President Trump prodding Kyiv to investigate. The allegations also rocked Mr. Biden’s run for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.
Ukraine Prosecutor General Ruslan Ryaboshapka told reporters in Kyiv that prosecutors are auditing all the cases that were closed or dismissed by former prosecutors, including several related to Mykola Zlochevsky, owner of the gas company Burisma Holdings, The Associated Press reported.
Burisma hired Mr. Biden’s son Hunter in 2014, at the same time his father was leading the Obama administration’s diplomatic dealings with Kyiv, AP said.
Mr. Trump requested an investigation of the Bidens during a July 25 phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky. An intelligence community worker at the White House filed a whistleblower complaint that the call was an abuse of power for political gain, which sparked a new House impeachment probe.
Mr. Trump has said that the call was “perfect” and a legitimate request for an investigation in a country that has struggled with political corruption.
Mr. Biden, a front-runner in the Democratic presidential race, has said that neither he nor his son have done anything wrong.
The allegations have drawn attention to Hunter Biden’s business dealings at home and abroad, which have included highly profitable ventures in Ukraine and China that coincided with his father’s tenure in the Obama-Biden White House.
The elder Mr. Biden also appeared to play a role in ending Ukraine’s previous investigation of money laundering and fraud at Burisma.
During a 2016 visit as vice president to Kyiv, Mr. Biden threatened to withhold $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees if the country’s leaders did not fire Ukraine’s top prosecutor, Yuri Lutsenko, who was accused of not doing enough to fight rampant corruption.
At the time, Mr. Lutsenko’s office also was investigating Burisma.
In recent interviews, Mr. Lutsenko has said that Hunter Biden was not a target of the probe and he had no evidence of wrongdoing by the elder Mr. Biden or his son.
Hunter Biden, a Yale-educated lawyer with no experience in the energy industry, was hired by Burisma while the company was targeted in a U.K. money laundering probe. It is unclear whether the Bidens knew of the investigation at that time.
Hunter Biden collected $50,000 a month for his job overseeing Burisma’s legal affairs.