A House investigation into President Biden’s family and the massive profits they reaped from foreign business deals is homing in on the web of business associates of Mr. Biden’s son Hunter Biden, congressional investigators say.
The investigators, who plan to follow the money, are now looking at a group of family chums, Washington insiders and foreign impresarios who helped close a series of lucrative deals.
The House Oversight and Accountability Committee is reviewing Treasury Department statements and bank accounts to track down the foreign business arrangements and determine whether Mr. Biden had any knowledge or role in the schemes and whether the dealings have compromised national security.
These are the top members of Hunter Biden’s deal-making gang who are in the committee’s sights.
Mr. Schwerin, 53, served as Hunter Biden’s business partner and close friend. He has agreed to cooperate and provide documents to the Republican-led investigation. The business deals often involved countries where Mr. Biden led on U.S. policy as vice president in the Obama administration.
SEE ALSO: Biden bagman in mystery China payouts exposed as Clinton-linked lobbyist
Mr. Schwerin was president of the now-defunct Rosemont Seneca Partners, an investment management firm founded by Hunter Biden that pursued deals in Ukraine, Russia, China and other countries.
Chris Heinz, a stepson of Mr. Biden’s special envoy for climate, former Sen. John Kerry, was also a Rosemont Seneca co-founder.
Mr. Schwerin became a frequent visitor to the Obama White House after Rosemont Seneca began engaging in foreign deals. He helped the Biden family, including Mr. Biden, manage their finances.
Republicans investigating Hunter Biden and other Biden family members for evidence of influence peddling say Mr. Schwerin’s 27 White House visits during the Obama administration cast doubt on Mr. Biden’s statement in 2019 that he had “never spoken” with Hunter Biden about his son’s business dealings. Mr. Schwerin and Hunter Biden may have first been introduced during the Clinton administration when the two worked for the Commerce Department, Mr. Schwerin as a senior adviser for international trade and Hunter Biden as policy director for e-commerce.
President Obama twice appointed Mr. Schwerin to serve on the U.S. Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad.
John Robinson ‘Rob’ Walker
SEE ALSO: Comer demands answers from Biden family associate behind Chinese wire payouts
Mr. Walker has emerged as the centerpiece of the congressional investigation into the Biden family business deals. He once said that exposing his financial dealings with the first family would “bury all of us.”
The Oversight and Accountability Committee wants to know what Mr. Walker meant by that warning. Calling him a “critical witness,” investigators plan to have Mr. Walker appear for an interview.
Mr. Walker is a top target of the investigation partly because he distributed more than $1 million to Biden family members beginning in March 2017. Mr. Walker made the payouts a day after he received a $3 million wire transfer from State Energy HK Ltd., an affiliate of CEFC China Energy Co., an oil company backed by the Chinese Communist Party.
The money was divided among the Bidens, Mr. Walker and another business associate, British citizen James Gilliar.
Committee Chairman James Comer, Kentucky Republican, said in a statement that “it is unclear what services were provided in return” for the money, which was paid less than two months after Mr. Biden’s second term as vice president ended.
Mr. Walker began his career in politics on Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign team and worked in the Clinton administration at the Transportation Department and the Federal Aviation Administration.
Mr. Walker promoted his high-level government connections after he moved into the private sector and began seeking foreign investment partners. It’s not clear how he first met Hunter Biden. His wife, Betsy Massey Walker, was a top aide to Jill Biden while she was the second lady in the Obama White House.
Mr. Walker was a partner along with Hunter Biden, President Biden’s brother James Biden, Mr. Gilliar and Tony Bobulinski in the business venture Sinohawk Holdings. The group planned to set up a business deal with CEFC China Energy Co.
Mr. Bobulinski said in 2020 that Mr. Walker arranged for him to meet with Mr. Biden in 2017 to discuss CEFC.
Mr. Walker is said to have a close relationship with the Biden family.
Rosemont Seneca’s third partner is a former Abercrombie & Fitch fashion model who attended Yale with Mr. Heinz. He was recently convicted of fraud unrelated to the Biden influence-peddling investigation.
Mr. Archer, 48, joined Hunter Biden in 2014 as a member of the board of Burisma Holdings Ltd., a natural gas company based in Kyiv, Ukraine. The company paid Rosemont Seneca $3.4 million in consulting fees meant for both Mr. Archer and Mr. Biden. Each was paid $80,000 per month.
Burisma reportedly hired Hunter Biden to protect the company from prosecution on corruption charges.
Mr. Archer met in the White House with Vice President Biden one week before Mr. Archer joined the Burisma board. After he joined the Burisma board, Mr. Archer appeared in an infamous photo on a golf course with Hunter Biden, Vice President Biden and an unknown man.
The oversight panel is examining suspicious activity reports from Treasury that flagged irregular financial activities by Mr. Archer. The investigators also plan to examine his bank accounts, along with those of other Biden business partners, to determine the extent of what they say could be an influence-peddling scheme involving the president.
Mr. Archer resigned from Rosemont Seneca after his 2016 arrest on charges that he defrauded the Oglala Sioux Tribe of $60 million in bonds. He was sentenced in February 2022 to one year and one day in prison and was ordered to forfeit $15.7 million and pay another $43.4 million in restitution. Hunter Biden was not implicated or involved in the fraud.
The most elusive of Hunter Biden’s former business associates, Mr. Gilliar is a British citizen and former special forces officer who in 2017 partnered with Hunter Biden to plan a business venture with CEFC China Energy Co.
James Biden, Mr. Walker and Mr. Bobulinski also were included in the plan.
Although that venture did not yield any deals, one of Mr. Gilliar’s companies received a $1,065,000 million payment on March 2, 2017, from Mr. Walker. A day earlier, he received a $3 million wire payment from State Energy HK Ltd.
Mr. Gilliar made a possible reference to Mr. Biden’s involvement in the deal.
In a 2017 email revealed by Mr. Bobulinski two weeks before the 2020 presidential election, Mr. Gilliar suggested that Hunter Biden reserve 10% of his payout from Sinohawk Holdings “for the big guy.”
The email said, “10 held by H for the big guy?” Mr. Bobulinski said the “H” stood for Hunter Biden and “the big guy” stood for the former vice president, who had just departed the Obama White House and was considered a likely 2020 Democratic presidential candidate.
• Susan Ferrechio can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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