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U.S. policy toward Ukraine can only be successful when it is devoid of duplicity, empowered by U.S. values and supportive of the security of its allies. This is what differentiates President Trump from Obama

Biden’s Nepotism and Hypocrisy in Ukraine


James A. Lyons, Jr. Admiral, USN (ret) image

By —— Bio and Archives April 11, 2018

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Biden's Nepotism and Hypocrisy in Ukraine
U.S. relations with Ukraine have dramatically flourished under President Trump, in contrast to the poor state of the Washington-Kiev strategic alliance under former President Obama. While the Trump national security team approved the sale of Javelin anti-tank missile systems and sniper rifles to Ukraine, the Obama administration vetoed similar sales of lethal weapons, leaving Ukraine to face Russia alone.  An equally important aspect of U.S. support for Ukraine has been in reforms and the fight against corruption, which the Obama administration also undermined by nepotism and hypocrisy.

Joe Biden “has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades”

Former CIA Director and Defense Secretary Robert Gates famously wrote in his memoir that Joe Biden “has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.” Now that the former vice president is considering yet another presidential run, voters should always remember some of Amtrak Joe’s golden oldies, including: dismissing North Korea as a “paper tiger”, stating that the Taliban is not America’s enemy, and embracing China’s one-child policy. But, it would be hard to name another sitting vice president whose reckless nepotism impacted another country, as Biden did with Ukraine.

Vice President Biden routinely complained about “backsliding” over Ukraine’s fight against corruption, while at the same time, his son, Hunter, with no background in the gas industry, earned a huge salary as a consultant to gas mogul Mykola Zlochevsky’s Burisma Holdings, which is mired in allegations of corruption. This example of nepotism is, as reported in The Washington Post, a problem for U.S. soft power as Hunter Biden’s appointment “looks nepotistic at best, nefarious at worst.” Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Steven Pifer said the lack of due diligence in the Vice President’s office was surprising as Hunter Biden’s employment by Burisma “undercut that message of anti-corruption.”

Prior to Burisma, Hunter Biden teamed up with his Yale roommate, Devon Archer to create Rosemont Capital and Rosemont Seneca*. Their first forays were in China, including in a nuclear company under FBI investigation. But the good times did not last, as Archer was charged in May 2016 with “conspiracy to commit securities fraud” against Native Americans.

Cyprus: Haven for tainted Russian and Ukrainian money

Western consultants, lawyers and investment bankers were hired by Burisma, not for their expertise on Ukraine or the gas sector—which none of them had—but to camouflage its corrupt origins and provide it with a glossier look. In other words, to launder its tattered image. As author Oliver Bullough asked in The Guardian: “Hunter Biden is an undistinguished corporate lawyer, with no previous Ukraine experience. Why would a Ukrainian tycoon hire him?”

It would be duplicitous to deny there was a link between Biden and his son in Burisma. There cannot be any reason other than that his father was vice president as to why Hunter Biden was hired in April 2014, only two months after the success of the Euromaidan Revolution. Burisma needed to re-launch its image after its previous patron, kleptocrat Viktor Yanukovych, had fled to Russia.

Burisma’s owner, Zlochevsky, is no saint. Most people—other than Hunter and his team—have shied away from associating with him. It would be naïve to believe that Burisma experienced spurts of growth purely by coincidence while Zlochevsky was in office.

Founded in 2006 and registered in Cyprus—a haven for tainted Russian and Ukrainian money—Burisma is the third largest gas producer in Ukraine, controlling a quarter of private gas production. Nevertheless, it is not viewed by the Ukrainian government as a legitimate gas company. Meanwhile, Burisma’s close ties to oligarch Igor Kolomoisky place it beyond the pale for President Poroshenko, who clashed with the tycoon after he brought armed paramilitary thugs into downtown Kiev.

The entangled web of Biden and son in Ukraine’s corruption is made more curious by the coincidence of dates when Biden visited Ukraine. During one of those visits in early 2016, a criminal investigation into stolen IMF credits to the tune of $1.8 billion was closed down by Ukraine’s prosecutor’s office.

This $1.8 billion was only a part of the $5.5 billion reportedly laundered by Kolomoisky through PrivatBank over a ten-year period. The massive fraud uncovered by a Kroll Associates investigation was launched at the request of President Poroshenko. Not surprisingly, Kolomoisky’s 1+1 TV channel is one of the biggest critics of Poroshenko for his attacks on oligarchs.

 

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The corrupt origins of Burisma and mafia-like business practices of Kolomoisky point to Hunter Biden being a hypocrite

Although Kolomoisky, who illegally has Swiss and Israeli passports in addition to his Ukrainian one, is Ukraine’s most infamous corporate raider, Swiss authorities are refusing to extradite him to Ukraine.

The corrupt origins of Burisma and mafia-like business practices of Kolomoisky point to Hunter Biden being a hypocrite , as selling his name undercuts any credibility from Biden’s incessant complaining about Ukraine backsliding. Burisma lacks transparency—the very service that Hunter Biden claimed to bring to the company.

The Obama administration was no strategic partner and friend of Ukraine in spite of the fact that both the U.S. and Russia had, in effect, a treaty obligation to support Ukrainian security under the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, under which Ukraine gave up the world’s third largest nuclear arsenal.  Obama’s betrayal of Ukraine’s security in the face of Russian aggression was matched only by Biden’s undermining of U.S. soft power in Ukraine. With continued Russian aggression, Ukraine is a key ally in disrupting Putin’s objectives.

U.S. policy toward Ukraine can only be successful when it is devoid of duplicity, empowered by U.S. values and supportive of the security of its allies. This is what differentiates President Trump from Obama.

*Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to note that Chris Heinz, John Kerry’s son by marriage, was not a managing partner of Rosemont Seneca Partners


James A. Lyons, Jr. Admiral, USN (ret) -- Bio and Archives | Comments

James A. Lyons, a retired U.S. Navy admiral, was commander in chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet and senior U.S. military representative to the United Nations.