Chinese Business Associate Paid Hunter Biden $1,000,000 For Non-Existent Legal Services, Docs Show

(Photo by Mandel NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

James Lynch Contributor
Font Size:

Hunter Biden’s former Chinese business associate Patrick Ho paid him $1 million for apparent legal services that were never performed, newly released documents show.

Ho and Hunter Biden signed an attorney engagement letter in September 2017 where Ho agreed to pay Hunter Biden $1 million as a retainer for future legal services, according to a copy of the engagement letter, released Dec. 5 by the House Ways and Means Committee. (RELATED: Hunter Biden’s Drug Addiction Defense Shattered By New California Indictment)


A former executive at defunct Chinese infrastructure firm CEFC, federal authorities arrested Ho in November 2017 on bribery charges related to his work for CEFC. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York prosecuted Ho, and Hunter Biden was not included as an attorney on the case record, IRS whistleblower Joseph Ziegler said in an affidavit disclosed by the House Ways and Means Committee.

“Hunter Biden is not included as an attorney on record for the Patrick Ho case in the Southern District of New York. This engagement letter related to the $1 million allegedly paid for the legal representation of Patrick Ho,” Ziegler stated.

“The $1 million payment was paid to Hunter Biden and his entity Owasco LLC on or about March 22, 2018, 9 days prior to Hunter Biden leaving for California for his self-proclaimed exile,” Ziegler added.

An email released by the Ways and Means Committee shows a Chinese business associate emailed the signed engagement letter in October 2017 to Hunter Biden, his uncle and business partner James Biden and aunt Sara Biden.

Retainer fees are typically paid by the client for future services provided by the attorney, according to Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute. (RELATED: Burisma Slashed Hunter Biden’s Salary When Donald Trump Took Office, New Indictment Shows)

Ho and Biden’s original letter of engagement said Hunter Biden would reimburse his client if he did not provide $1 million worth of legal services such as conferences, court sessions, deposition preparation and preparation, legal documents review and legal research.

Hunter Biden, son of US President Joe Biden, leaves the J. Caleb Boggs Federal Building in Wilmington, Delaware, on July 26, 2023. Hunter Biden pleaded not guilty to minor tax offenses on July 26, as a deal with federal prosecutors fell apart in a Delaware court. (Photo by RYAN COLLERD / AFP) (Photo by RYAN COLLERD/AFP via Getty Images)

The Chinese businessman received a three-year prison sentence in March 2019 because of his role in an international bribery scheme where CEFC attempted to bribe officials from Chad and Uganda to secure business advantages.

Chinese authorities arrested CEFC Chairman Ye Jianming in early 2018 on suspicion of bribery, according to Chinese media reports. Hunter Biden admitted in court to making just under $1 million in 2017 as part of the Hudson West III business entity he formed with CEFC associates.

Hunter Biden likened Jianming to Chinese Communist Party (CCP) ruler Xi Jinping when he introduced the CEFC chairman to James Biden, a memo released by the Ways and Means Committee in September shows.

Hunter Biden’s failed guilty plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Delaware shows Ho sent him $1 million in March 2018 through his Owasco LLC legal account. The plea agreement says Hunter Biden provided Ho legal services, a statement Ziegler believes misrepresents the nature of the payment.

“Based on the evidence obtained as a part of the investigation, it is believed that the $1 million payment was not for legal fees and was misrepresented in the failed plea agreement,” Ziegler testified on Dec. 5 to the Ways and Means Committee.

The indictment brought against Hunter Biden Thursday by a California grand jury for nine tax-related charges explains how Hunter Biden received the $1 million payment through Hudson West III.


“Roughly contemporaneous with the arrest of P.H., an individual associated with CEFC, on or about November 2, 2017, HWIII received a $1,000,000 deposit,” page 29 of the indictment read.

“At the Defendant’s direction, on or about March 22, 2018, the funds were transferred to Owasco, LLC. The memo line of this transfer indicated it was for ‘[P.H.] Representation.’ To justify the transfer, HWIII was provided with a letter stating that the funds were a retainer for the Defendant’s representation of P.H., who was under criminal investigation in the United States.”

Hunter Biden made a total of $2.3 million in 2017 and $2.3 million in 2018 from his foreign business dealings, according to the indictment.

“Based on the facts and the law, if Hunter’s last name was anything other than Biden, the charges in Delaware, and now California, would not have been brought,” Hunter Biden’s defense attorney Abbe D. Lowell said in a statement following the California charges.

The younger Biden graduated from Yale Law School in 1996 and formerly worked as counsel for prominent international law firm Boies Schiller Flexner LLP. As of July 2023, he remains in good standing with the Washington, D.C., bar despite having appeared to violate its professional conduct standards.

Hunter Biden was indicted in September on three federal gun charges stemming from his October 2018 purchase of a Colt Cobra revolver in Delaware during a period when he battled a crack cocaine addiction.

In early October, he pleaded not guilty to the alleged gun offenses. A month later, he downplayed the charges in an op-ed for USA Today centered around his addiction. His attorneys filed motions Monday to dismiss the Delaware gun charges.

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 19: (L-R) Supervisory IRS Special Agent Gary Shapley and IRS Criminal Investigator Joseph Ziegler are sworn-in during a House Oversight Committee hearing related to the Justice Department's investigation of Hunter Biden, on Capitol Hill July 19, 2023 in Washington, DC. The committee heard testimony from two whistleblowers from the Internal Revenue Service who allege that the Hunter Biden criminal probe was mishandled by the Department of Justice. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – JULY 19: (L-R) Supervisory IRS Special Agent Gary Shapley and IRS Criminal Investigator Joseph Ziegler are sworn-in during a House Oversight Committee hearing related to the Justice Department’s investigation of Hunter Biden, on Capitol Hill July 19, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Ziegler and IRS whistleblower Gary Shapley previously testified with accusations of special treatment given by DOJ officials to Hunter Biden during the ongoing criminal probe into his taxes and firearms possession.

Both testified Dec. 5 before the Ways and Means Committee, and the House panel subsequently released additional documents related to the Hunter Biden investigation.

In August, Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Delaware U.S. Attorney David Weiss as special counsel to continue leading the Hunter Biden investigation. (RELATED: DOJ Declined Top Hunter Biden Prosecutor’s Request For Additional Authority, Testimony Confirms)

Witness testimony from Weiss and numerous key officials involved with the Hunter Biden case confirmed central allegations brought forward by Shapley and Ziegler, House Republicans said in a lengthy report published Tuesday. The White House pushed back against the whistleblower testimony in a memo first reported by the Washington Examiner.

Former Hunter Biden business associate Rob Walker told the FBI Joe Biden met with CEFC associates after his vice presidency concluded, a transcript of the interview shows. The House Oversight Committee subpoenaed Walker in November to have him appear for a closed-door deposition.

President Joe Biden denied ever meeting his son’s business associates when pressed by New York Post reporter Steven Nelson following a recent speech. Hunter Biden’s ex-business associate Devon Archer testified in July and recalled around 20 instances where Joe Biden spoke with his son’s business partners. (RELATED: FBI Knew New York Post’s Hunter Biden Laptop Story Was Real Ahead Of 2020 Election, FBI Form Shows)

House Republicans are investigating Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealings as part of the impeachment inquiry into President Biden spearheaded by the Ways and Means, Oversight and Judiciary Committees. The Biden family and its business associates received more than $24 million from foreign sources over a five-year period ending in 2019, according to a House memo circulated in September.

Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer and Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan have threatened to hold Hunter Biden in contempt of Congress if he does not appear for a closed-door deposition scheduled for Dec. 13. Lowell offered to have his client testify publicly instead of the private session, a proposal House Republicans swiftly rejected in late November.

House Republicans are weighing a floor vote to strengthen the impeachment inquiry.