Hunter Biden planned to establish a DC-based consultancy firm jointly with his brother Beau and father, Joe Biden, in 2014, a new portion of emails from a laptop that supposedly belonged to Hunter, obtained by the Daily Mail has shown. According to the emails, the firm was supposed to be launched in 2016, allowing Joe Biden to quit politics after eight years of the vice presidency, but the plans were thwarted by Beau's death from cancer.
It is unclear from the emails if Joe Biden discussed using his extensive political ties for the benefit of this enterprise with Hunter. The president claimed in the past that he never discussed with Hunter his business affairs, but reports that have been surfacing over the past year have cast doubt on this statement.
In the alleged email exchange with his business partner, lawyer, and entrepreneur Jeff Cooper in November 2014, Hunter discussed the details of the planned endeavour, including ways to attract the firm's first clients, Beau's salary, and the composition of the firm's board.
500K for Brother and Spot for Dad
Discussing the planned expenses, Hunter reportedly suggested that they might be as high as $1.2 million per year, with $500,000 reserved for his brother Beau. When Cooper inquired if the sum could somehow be trimmed, Hunter put the exorbitant salary down to his brother's medical needs and that he had been offered a similar sum at another consultancy company, which he eventually joined, the emails show.
"My main concern is that he has at least that much income guaranteed for two years. We could probably go as low as 350 but there are some real costs associated with upcoming treatments not covered by insurance", Hunter allegedly wrote.
The emails seemgly contained no information as to how much Hunter himself and his father would be making per year. Yet, he argued that for the endeavour to be successful both his father, Joe Biden, and Beau must be on the board, the report claims.
"In order to develop this as a platform for both JRBs I think it is imperative we (the three of us) have full control come 2016 when JRB1 comes on board", Hunter allegedly wrote referring to his father, Joseph Robinette Biden Jr, and his brother, Joseph Robinette Biden III, by their initials.
Everlasting Source of Ethics Concerns
The latest revelations by the Daily Mail once again raise questions about whether Hunter Biden profited or tried to profit from his father's political ties. Such questions were first raised when Hunter joined the board of Ukrainian gas company Burisma for $50,000 per month. This happened when Joe Biden was vice president in the Obama administration and was deeply involved in Washington's communication with the new Ukrainian government that had come to power via a western-back coup. The company later caught the attention of top Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin over suspicions of corruption, but the latter was removed from his post under pressure from the US and, purportedly, Joe Biden himself.
Joe Biden insisted that there was no conflicts of interest between him and his son and stressed that he had never discussed Hunter's business affairs with him. However, emails obtained from a laptop, presumably forgotten by Hunter at a Delaware repair shop, suggested that at least on one occasion, the son might have used his father's influential post. In one email, Hunter allegedly revealed he had organised a meeting between a colleague from Burisma's board and his father when he still was the vice president. Biden and his staffers said they have no records or recollection of the meeting taking place.
Even more questions about possible conflicts of interest were raised when another email (this time from 2017) surfaced from Hunter's purported laptop that seemed to suggest Joe Biden had an interest in a Chinese company, linked to China's authorities, through his son. In an email exchange discussing the possibility of establishing a joint venture with Chinese partners, it was mentioned that Hunter would be holding 10% of the shares on behalf of "the big guy". While the persona of the "big guy" was never explicitly revealed, some media outlets presumed that it might mean Joe Biden.