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Comparing Hunter Biden to Kusner/Ivanka Trump’s Corruption Investigation

Kushner

WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 01: (AFP OUT) Senior Advisor to U.S. President Donald Trump, Jared Kushner attends a meeting with inner city pastors in the Cabinet Room of the White House on August 1, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Oliver Contreras - Pool/Getty Images)

Posted: July 2, 2022 at 5:39 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

You might think former U.S. President Donald Trump and current U.S. President Joe Biden don’t share anything in common. And that’s a very valid assumption. But they do share one thing in common. They both have family members being investigated for potential corruption wrongdoings. 

Jared Kushner is the son-in-law of Trump and was the former White House senior adviser to the president. On the other hand, Hunter Biden is the son of Joe Biden. 

Both have had a close lens on them over the years, but their respective investigations have been heating up in recent months. The investigations are not similar and involve different people and countries worldwide. 

Kushner’s Corruption Investigation

So how is Jared Kushner linked to Donald Trump? Well, for one, he has been married to Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump since 2009. He was also a very well-known figure in the Trump administration. He joined Trump’s 2016 campaign and helped develop his digital media strategy. He then joined as a senior White House advisor throughout Trump’s tenure. Before his time in politics, he was and remained a businessman and an investor. 

This month, The House Committee on Oversight and Reform announced that they are investigating a $2 billion investment by a Saudi Arabian wealth fund in Kushner’s private equity firm, according to a letter the committee sent to him. 

The letter is requesting documents to know whether his personal financial interests influenced Trump’s U.S. foreign policy during his presidency. It also requests any communications he has had with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (M.B.S.), who controls the wealth fund Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund (P.I.F.). 

Kushner’s firm, Affinity Partners, was incorporated on the first full day after Trump left office. 

It was revealed that the panel that performs due diligence for the Saudi Fund concluded Kushner’s firm was not worth the investment as it is inexperienced and that its fees were excessive. It also reported that the firm’s operations were ‘unsatisfactory in all aspects.’

Those warnings were overridden by the Fund’s board, led by M.B.S., who approved the funding anyways. This led to ethical questions about Kushner’s relationship with M.B.S. and whether the payment influenced Trump. 

The Times reported that shortly before the 2020 election, Kushner unveiled a program called the Abraham Fund to capitalize on the Abraham Accords, the diplomatic agreements normalizing relations between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain. The administration said the Fund would raise $3 billion for projects around the Middle East and would include Kushner and former Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin “crisscrossing the Middle East in the final months of the administration on trips that included trying to raise money for the project.” 

But the report said that the countries never saw the money, and Kushner and Mnuchin ended up pocketing a lot of the money. Mnuchin’s newly formed commercial enterprise “received $500 million commitments from the Emiratis, Kuwaitis, and Qataris,” plus $1 billion from the Saudi sovereign wealth fund within a few short months of his time at the Treasury Department ending. Kushner’s new firm on the other hand received a $2 billion investment from the Saudis six months after he left the government. 

In its most recent public filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Affirm reported that it had $2.5 billion, with most of it being the $2 billion from Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi documents obtained by The Times say that in return for its investment, the Saudi Fund would receive a stake of at least 28 percent in the firm. 

Kushner had a significant relationship with Saudi Arabia during Trump’s administration and even became close with M.B.S. He played a leading role inside the Trump administration defending M.B.S. after U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that he had approved the 2018 killing and dismemberment of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi columnist for The Washington Post and resident of Virginia who had criticized the kingdom’s rulers.

Kushner also authored the Trump peace plan for the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, which was announced in 2020 and viewed as highly favorable for Israel. In addition, Kushner was the primary Trump administration participant in talks regarding the Middle East Peace Process, leading to the signing of the Abraham Accord 2020. 

Kushner had also helped broker $110 billion in weapons sales to Saudi Arabia over ten years. 

A spokesperson for Kushner offered a statement to the Times in response to the House committee’s activities. “While achieving six peace deals in the Middle East, Mr. Kushner fully abided by all legal and ethical guidelines both during and after his government service,” it said. “He is proud to be among many private sector stakeholders advancing connectivity between Americans, Israelis, and Arabs to encourage continued regional progress.”

Hunter Biden

A Justice Department investigation, led by the U.S. Attorney in Wilmington, into Hunter Biden’s business activities has gained steam in recent months, with federal investigators amping up the number of testimonies with more expected in the coming weeks, according to multiple sources familiar with the matter.

The investigation began as early as 2018 with concerns about his financial and business activities in foreign countries while his father was vice president to Barack Obama. Investigators have examined whether Hunter Biden and some of his associates violated money laundering, tax, and foreign lobbying laws and firearm and other regulations. 

The testimonies came from lobbyists connected to Biden, his business partners, and others who have observed his financial engagements. 

Those discussions have involved investigators from the F.B.I. and I.R.S. Criminal Investigation Agency and prosecutors in Delaware and at Justice Department headquarters. 

The investigation initially focused on tax issues and his financial activities in China. They also examined his role on the board of the Ukrainian energy company Burisma years ago. 

Biden has told associates he paid outstanding tax bills, and public records show more than $450,000 in state liens in Washington, DC, were lifted in 2020, indicating those liabilities were likely paid off.

But those payments haven’t resolved his legal issues. Investigators have examined the source of funds to pay the tax bills.

Biden has denied wrongdoing in his business activities. He said in a statement issued by his father’s presidential transition office: “I take this matter very seriously but I am confident that a professional and objective review of these matters will demonstrate that I handled my affairs legally and appropriately, including with the benefit of professional tax advisors.”

Ukraine

Biden’s involvement in Ukraine has been the main point of contention. He served on the board of Burisma and was paid as much as $50,000 a month from 2014 to 2019. During the first two years of his time on the board, his father was the vice president. The overlap raised concerns about a conflict of interest among some Obama administration officials at the time.

What raised even more eyebrows is that his father and then vice-president Joe Biden was engaged in anti-corruption work in Ukraine. His work led to the firing the country’s top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, who faced criticism for blocking corruption investigations. 

Donald Trump and some of his allies have claimed without proof that he was ousted for investigating Burisma.

This led to Trump pressuring Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in a telephone call to investigate Hunter’s dealings with Burisma, which led to his first House impeachment. 

China

From 2013 to 2016, he held a board seat at the Chinese private equity firm B.H.R. Partners, first as an unpaid member and later owning a 10% equity stake in the Fund.

The documents and the analysis raise questions about national security, business ethics, and potential legal exposure. In December 2020, Biden acknowledged in a statement that he was the subject of a federal investigation into his taxes.

After his father left the White House in 2017, Hunter also partnered with Chinese billionaire Ye Jianming on a natural gas project in Louisiana. The deal collapsed after Chinese authorities detained Ye on corruption charges. 

Biden has since resigned from the boards of both B.H.R. Partners and Burisma Holdings.

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