Politics

Ukrainian Businessman Says Gas Company Hired Hunter Biden For Protection

(Alexis C. Glenn-Pool/Getty Images)

David Krayden Ottawa Bureau Chief

A former member of the Ukrainian parliament reportedly says Burisma Holdings hired Hunter Biden for protection.

Oleksandr Onyshchenko, a businessman who left Ukraine in 2016, said Burisma’s founder, Mykola Zlochevsky, sought the assistance of Hunter Biden, the son of then-Vice President Joe Biden, at a time when the natural gas company was under intense scrutiny for corruption.

“It was to protect [the company],” Onyshchenko told Reuters on Friday.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden attend an NCAA basketball game between Georgetown University and Duke University in Washington, U.S., Jan. 30, 2010. (REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst -/File Photo)

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden attend an NCAA basketball game between Georgetown University and Duke University in Washington, U.S., Jan. 30, 2010. (REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst -/File Photo)

Hunter Biden obtained a seat on the company’s board of directors because he was seen as a man with a political clout, influence from his father’s role in the Obama administration, according to people interviewed by the news agency. Joe Biden was doling out assistance to Ukraine as then-President Barack Obama’s point man in the east European country. (RELATED: Nunes: Ukraine Will Sink Biden’s Campaign, Not Trump’s Presidency)

Hunter Biden has admitted that he exercised “poor judgment” in taking a position for which he had no expertise or experience but blames his detractors for believing in a “ridiculous conspiracy.” He claims he knew as much about the subject as anyone on the board and that when he discussed the matter with his father, the elder Biden said, “I hope you know what you’re doing.”

His job ended in April this year after five years of apparently providing advice on legal issues and corporate finance, according to Reuters, which also noted Biden did not visit Ukraine to engage with other board members during his tenure.

Biden reportedly didn’t provide much protection for the company as Ukrainian authorities issued a series of investigations into Zlochevsky for tax fraud and money laundering. Zlochevsky also provided gas exploration licenses to his own company when he was Ukraine’s minister of natural resources, according to Reuters.

Although Hunter Biden said he has no regrets about sitting on the board, his role and the exorbitant fees he received for services rendered continue to raise questions from opponents of Joe Biden, who is currently seeking the Democratic presidential nomination.

The impeachment inquiry dominating Washington is focused on whether President Donald Trump tied United States aid to Ukraine to that country conducting further investigations into potential misconduct from the Bidens.

MANCHESTER, NH - OCTOBER 09: Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign event on October 9, 2019 in Manchester, New Hampshire. For the first time, Biden has publicly called for President Trump to be impeached. (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)

Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign event on Oct. 9, 2019 in Manchester, New Hampshire. For the first time, Biden has publicly called for President Trump to be impeached. (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)

Joe Biden can be seen on video bragging about having Ukrainian prosecutor Victor Shokin fired, but the former vice president now says he wanted the official gone because of alleged corruption. Biden’s opponents argue that he did not want Shokin to probe too deeply into Hunter Biden’s role at Burisma. There is no conclusive proof for that accusation and many in the media have accepted Joe Biden’s story. (RELATED: Joe Biden Never Says He Discussed Hunter Biden’s Ukraine Deal. Hunter Says He Did)

Shokin has filed an affidavit accusing Biden of forcing him out of his job, although many accused the prosecutor of corruption at the time.