Board of directors
A number of non-Ukrainian directors were appointed in 2014, including Aleksander Kwaśniewski, former President of the Republic of Poland, appointed in January 2014.
On 18 April 2014, Hunter Biden, the son of then-Vice President Joe Biden, who managed US-Ukraine relations for the Obama administration, was appointed to the board of Burisma Holdings. In February 2016, Joseph Cofer Black, the Director of the CIA's Counterterrorist Center (CTC) (1999-2002) in the George W. Bush administration and Ambassador at Large for counter-terrorism (2002-2004) joined Burisma's Board of Directors.
Burisma Group was founded in 2002 by Ukrainian businessman Nikolai Zlochevsky (also known as Mykola Zlochevsky), the former Minister of Ecology for Ukraine, and Nikolay Lysin. Now it is owned solely by Nikolai Zlochevsky. As Ecology Minister, Zlochevsky issued a “special permit for the extraction of a third of the gas produced in Ukraine” to his own company, Burisma.
According to the Soros NGO “Anti Corruption Action Center” in Kyiv, Zlochevsky owns 38 permits held by 14 different companies—with Burisma accounting for the majority with 33 of the permits. Zlochevsky left Ukraine after former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych fled to Russia during the 2014 Ukrainian coup. Vice President Joe Biden managed US-Ukraine relations for the Obama administration. Biden traveled to Ukraine 17 times during his tenure as vice president. Biden steered $1.8 billion in aid to the Ukrainian government.
In the spring of 2014, the Ukrainian Prosecutor General's Office opened an investigation at the behest of the UK prosecutors office, which was investigating money laundering allegations against its owner, former Ukrainian Ecology Minister Nikolai Zlochevsky (also known as Mykola Zlochevsky) and had just frozen $23.5 million in assets allegedly belonging to him in early April 2014. On April 18, 2014 Biden's son, Hunter Biden was appointed to the board of directors of Burisma. According to The Hill Biden's firm, Rosemont Seneca Partners, was receiving regular payments—“usually more than $166,000 a month”—from Burisma. The payments ran from the spring of 2014 through the fall of 2015 and reportedly totaled more than $3 million.
Ukrainian prosecutors refused to provide the UK with needed documents and in January 2015 a British court ordered the assets unfrozen. This action was pointedly called out in a speech by U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, who stated “In the case of former Ecology Minister Mykola Zlochevsky, the U.K. authorities had seized $23 million in illicit assets that belonged to the Ukrainian people.” Instead of receiving cooperation from Ukrainian prosecutors, they “sent letters to Zlochevsky’s attorneys attesting that there was no case against him. As a result, the money was freed by the U.K. court, and shortly thereafter the money was moved to Cyprus.”
On Feb. 10, 2015, Viktor Shokin was appointed as the Prosecutor General of the Ukraine and he picked up the investigation into Burisma, which reportedly continued until his removal in February 2016. The Hill article included a written answer from Shokin who said his investigation into Burisma had included plans for “interrogations and other crime-investigation procedures into all members of the executive board, including Hunter Biden.”
- See also: Ukrainian collusion
After Hunter Biden's appointment was announced, press articles raised concerns about Biden's potential conflicts with US government positions. CNN stated that "The [Biden] appointment caused a stir, given that it occurred around the same time that his father and the White House were engaged in diplomatic missions in the region to wean Ukraine off Russian energy sources. Critics argued that Hunter's work for a country promoting Ukrainian energy independence was a blatant conflict of interest."
Morgan Williams, director of the US-Ukraine Business Council, discerned a conflict, though he had seen no direct evidence of one. He argued it was a problem of appearance, as there was an "unspoken" American tradition that "frowns" on "close family members of government working for organizations with business links to active politics."
Vice President Joe Biden oversaw the disbursement of $1 billion allocated by the U.S. to the new government of Ukraine. In 2014, Biden's son Hunter Biden, was appointed to the board of directors of Burisma Holdings, the largest oil and gas company in Ukraine. Hunter Biden was hired by Mykola Zlochevsky, who served as Ukraine's ecology minister in the previous administration. Hunter Biden was paid $166,000 per month. The money was split with the nephew of Whitey Bulger.
Zlochevsky came under investigation by the new administration for alleged embezzlement of $5 billion while ecology minister. The prosecutor traced payments made to Hunter Biden. Vice President Biden threatened the new Ukrainian administration to withhold $1 billion in U.S. allocated funds unless the prosecutor investigating Hunter Biden was fired.Petro Poroshenko that the Obama administration would pull $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees, sending Ukraine toward insolvency, if it didn't immediately fire Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin who was investigating his son, Hunter. Biden recounted,
"'You’re not getting the billion'. I’m going to be leaving here in, I think it was about six hours. I looked at them and said: ‘I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money'...Well, [SOB], he got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time."
Yuriy Lutsenko, who replaced Shokin as the prosecutor looking into Burisma, said the evidence in the Burisma case he'd like to present to William Barr, particularly the vice president's intervention.
Between April 2014 and October 2015, more than $3 million was paid out by Burisma to an account linked to Biden's and Devon Archer's Rosemont Seneca firm, according to the financial records placed in a federal court file in Manhattan in another case against Archer. The bank records show that, on most months when Burisma money flowed, two wire transfers of $83,333.33 each were sent to the Rosemont Seneca–connected account on the same day. The same Rosemont Seneca–linked account typically then paid Hunter Biden one or more payments ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 each. Ukrainian prosecutors reviewed internal company documents and wanted to interview Hunter Biden and Archer about why they had received such payments, but couldn't because of Joe Biden's intervention.
In a text message from Hunter Biden to his sister Naomi, Hunter said that "Pop" takes 50% of his salary.
Senate investigators concluded,
The records acquired by the Committees show that Hunter Biden and his family were involved in a vast financial network that connected them to foreign nationals and foreign governments across the globe. Hunter Biden and Archer, in particular, formed significant and consistent financial relationships with the corrupt oligarch Mykola Zlochevsky during their time working for Burisma and their firms made millions of dollars from that association while Joe Biden was vice president and the public face of the Obama administration’s Ukraine policy. Rosemont Seneca Thornton, an investment firm co-founded by Hunter Biden, received $3.5 million in a wire transfer from Elena Baturina, who allegedly received illegal construction contracts from her husband, the former mayor of Moscow. Moreover, Archer’s apparent receipt of money for a car from Kenges Rakishev of Kazakhstan while Vice President Biden was in Kyiv is especially concerning in light of the timing. And finally, Biden and Archer’s work with Chinese nationals connected to the Communist regime illustrate the deep financial connections that accelerated while his father was vice president and continued after he left office.
Biden and Archer found willing partners in Chinese nationals connected to the Communist regime. Their work in China began at least in 2009, with the creation of Rosemont Seneca Partners with Heinz, Secretary of State John Kerry’s stepson. Then, several years later, Biden and Archer formed BHR with Bohai Capital and received their business license approval in China shortly after Biden visited China with his father, Vice President Biden.Hunter Biden’s connections and financial associations appear to have accelerated significantly after he associated himself with Ye Jianming, who had deep connections with the Communist regime and PLA. However, that didn’t seem to have any impact on Hunter Biden, who made millions from the relationship. Indeed, Hunter Biden and his family, to include James and Sara Biden, associated with other Chinese nationals such as Gongwen Dong. In one case, the three of them went on a $100,000 global spending spree after Gongwen Dong and Hunter Biden opened a joint account. In addition, Hunter Biden received millions of dollars over a period of years from Gongwen Dong’s companies. According to records acquired by the Committees, many of these transactions involved potential criminal financial activity.
The $3.5 million from the wife of the Moscow mayor was payment for $200 million money laundering]] scheme to circumvent the Magnitsky Act. No record of Hunter Biden filing as a lobbyist or agent of a foreign power under the FARA Act exists.
- Nwazor, Toby (2017-02-22). Former CIA Director Joins Burisma, and It Is Good News (en).
- Affidavit of Viktor Shokin on Biden shakedown, September 4, 2019.
- Hunter Biden, Burisma, and Corruption: The Impact on U.S.Government Policy and Related Concerns, U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, September 23, 2020, p. 84.