Elections

A Collusion Tale: China and the Bidens

Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at an event in Wilmington, Del., March 12, 2020. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)
Not only were the Bidens’ Chinese business contacts known to have ties to the regime; they also may have been clandestine agents.

Understand what’s going on here: The media-Democrat complex is warning you, on the basis of no evidence, that if you don’t close your eyes to the explosive revelations from Hunter Biden’s computers, you will be abetting a Russian intelligence operation; yet it has become increasingly obvious that this is because, if you open your eyes, you may find out that the Bidens were selling themselves to an actual Chinese intelligence operation.

Among the more amazing revelations in the Biden corruption scandal that the media-Democrat complex is blocking voters from seeing is this: The corrupt Chinese businessmen with whom the Bidens were colluding not only had a record of buying political influence, not only were known to have high-level ties to the Chinese Communist Party and the regime, but also were clandestine agents of China — at least, that’s what the FBI and Justice Department seem to have told the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

The Bidens were seeking a $40 million liquefied natural gas (LNG) deal with CEFC, a Shanghai-based energy conglomerate that was flying high until early 2018. By then, however, it had become crystal clear to Xi Jinping’s government that the company’s machinations on behalf of the regime had been penetrated by U.S. intelligence and law-enforcement. CEFC formally went bankrupt earlier this year, but that was two years after the regime pulled the plug on its operations – which appear to have been a cover for Chinese intelligence operations.

The Bidens, with former vice president Joe Biden’s son Hunter as the point-man, dealt with CEFC in 2017. They were the beneficiaries of its corrupt practices and were smack in the middle of things when CEFC began to unravel due to American investigations — investigations that Hunter Biden agreed to look into on behalf of his CEFC partners.

CEFC Was China
CEFC posed as a private company. Make no mistake, though, CEFC was China. Its meteoric rise would not have been possible otherwise, and its rapid collapse happened because its usefulness as an instrument of the Communist regime’s influence was undermined by American surveillance operations.

CEFC’s precursor company was begun in 2002 by Ye Zianming, an obscure young man who became fabulously wealthy by opaque means. It is not hard to figure out what happened, though: The Communist regime smiled on him. He has acknowledged getting his big break in 2006, when the regime permitted him to acquire assets it had confiscated from a major smuggler. Over the next dozen years, he lived the life of a globe-trotting tycoon. Hunter Biden, in the overstatement that appears to be a family tic, has referred to Ye as not only “my partner” but as “the richest man in the world.” Ye did indeed live large, but it was the Chinese government that let that happen, lavishly backing his venture, while he, in turn, spread China’s influence, particularly by purchasing political connections in America, Europe, and Africa.

From the start, the New York Times has reported, CEFC retained former top officials of the regime and was strongly tied to the Chinese Communist Party, establishing an internal party committee and rearing young officials through the Communist Youth League. Ye himself had been deputy secretary of the China Association for International Friendly Contact (CAIFC). That is the public name for a division of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA), known as the General Political Department’s International Liaison Department — as explained in a comprehensive report by the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, mainly compiled by Senators Ron Johnson (R., Wis.) and Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa).

Naturally, after Xi Jinping disappeared Ye in early 2018, CAIFC denied both that Ye had been associated with it and that it had anything to do with the PLA. In reality, as the Senate report elaborates, under Ye’s leadership, CEFC conducted extensive joint activities with the PLA’s General Political Department, and even funded a training center for “applied psychological operations and propaganda directed against Taiwan.” As the report concludes, “Ye and his associates had robust relationships with China’s military units, some of which were involved in matters in direct opposition to U.S. policy in the region.”

Designed to promote the Communist regime’s international muscle-flexing, CEFC was a natural instrument of China’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative, which Xi announced in 2013. The Hoover Institution’s Asia scholar, Michael Auslin, explains that OBOR is a form of “debt-trap diplomacy.” Beijing entices foreign governments with billions in infrastructure aid then manipulates them to do its bidding. The Washington Examiner’s Jerry Dunleavy recounts that Ye told Caixin Global, a Chinese media outlet, that CEFC “aim[ed] to serve the state’s strategy.” And serve it he did. Ye, for example, was named a political adviser to a pro-Beijing member of Hong Kong’s Legislative Council, a body China used for years to bring the formerly free zone to heel.

CEFC’s status as a “private business” was camouflage for the spread of China’s tentacles. In its early 2017 heyday, when it began reeling the Bidens in, CEFC was the rare “private” company that was charged with storing part of the regime’s s strategic oil reserve. When Xi visited Prague in March 2017, CEFC was along for the ride, applying to purchase a 50 percent stake in a major European banking giant, the J&T Finance Group, which had inroads not only to the Czech Republic, but Russia, Croatia, and Slovakia, among other places. The deal eventually fizzled because CEFC’s funding seemed too fishy to the Czech central bank. But that was only after, in a nod to Beijing, Ye was formally appointed as an economic policy adviser to the Czech government — the company having become “one of China’s biggest investors in central Europe,” Reuters reported.

And why not? CEFC was backed by a 30-billion-yuan line of credit from the China Development Bank, which is formally controlled by the regime. In September 2017, CEFC was thus permitted to obtain a $9 billion stake of Rosneft, Russia’s state oil giant. Even Vladimir Putin saw the wisdom of receiving a top CEFC executive at the Kremlin, as if he were Xi’s own emissary.

FISA Surveillance
United States intelligence agencies clearly took notice. As the Daily Caller’s Chuck Ross reports, our government obtained at least one FISA surveillance warrant that yielded evidence against Chi Ping Patrick Ho, one of CEFC’s heavyweights. The surveillance authorized by the FISA court included electronic eavesdropping as well as physical searching.

As Russiagate and the challenges to investigating it have made painfully clear, FISA surveillance is classified. The government applications and evidentiary showings that lead to it are closely guarded national-security secrets. Even on the rare occasions when evidence derived from FISA surveillance is used in court, as it was in Ho’s eventual prosecution for corruption crimes, the lawyers for the defendant and the trial prosecutors are not informed of the factual basis that predicated the surveillance. The full breadth of the counterintelligence investigation is not revealed publicly. The full range of targets remains secret, and we learn neither how long the monitoring went on nor what specific intelligence-gathering methods were employed.

What we get is just a bare-bones notice, such as the Justice Department provided during Ho’s prosecution, advising that FISA evidence would be offered at the trial. (In the inevitable litigation over admissibility of this evidence, the public is permitted to see only bland legal discussions about the FISA statute and precedents. The underlying, classified facts that triggered the surveillance remain secret.)

The CEFC scenario is a good example of why revelations about counterintelligence investigations are sparse, and why U.S. spy agencies often push against Justice Department use of evidence collected through foreign-intelligence surveillance operations, even to the point of trying to block indictments. Prosecution triggers discovery rules — the production to the defense of relevant information in sensitive government files. Moreover, when it is disclosed — even without providing much detail — that evidence has been collected under FISA, this alerts the foreign power at issue that its operations have been penetrated and monitored by U.S. intelligence agencies. That’s why intelligence agents, even if they stumble upon provable criminal activity, hate prosecutions: Once the FISA hand is tipped, the foreign power takes steps to shut down whatever activities may have been compromised.

To be clear, a FISA warrant would not have been issued, enabling surveillance that yielded evidence against a top CEFC official, unless the FISA court found probable cause of clandestine activity on behalf of a foreign power. We don’t know exactly how many CEFC officials were under surveillance, or who they were, but it emerged at Ho’s trial that the FBI had been monitoring CEFC since at least 2016. Government surveillance resulted in key corruption evidence against Ho, who worked directly for Ye. Indeed, the Times noted that, within days of Ho’s arrest, Ye was interviewed by the FBI.

Hunter Represents ‘the F***ing Spy Chief of China’
Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised, then, that Hunter Biden referred to Ho as “the f***ing spy chief of China,” as I related in a column on Wednesday. Ho is quite the character. He was the home-affairs secretary for the Hong Kong government in the early 2000s. Then, he launched a CEFC-backed non-government organization, the China Energy Fund Committee (“CEFC-NGO”), which was accredited by the United Nations and registered as a charitable entity in the United States. This gave Ho the resources and the cachet to practice CEFC’s highly effective modus operandi: the bribery of influential foreign politicians and government officials, who were then relied on to open doors for CEFC and, derivatively, for China.

At Ho’s criminal trial in the Southern District of New York, prosecutors proved that he used CEFC-NGO as the vehicle for multi-million dollar bribery schemes that roped in the president of Chad and Uganda’s foreign minister. The Justice Department also presented email evidence demonstrating that Ho was asked to “intervene with the Chinese state” so it might arm Chad to fight the Boko Haram jihadist organization. Furthermore, Ho discussed similar possibilities of arming Libya and Qatar, as well has helping Iran move sanctioned money out of China.

Ho was arrested in New York in November 2017. When that happened, the first call he made was to Joe Biden’s brother, Jim — who has a long history of cashing in on his brother’s political influence. Jim Biden says he assumed the call was intended for Joe’s son, Hunter.

That is probably true. After all, in the summer of 2017, months before Ho’s November arrest, Hunter Biden had agreed, at Ye’s request, to represent Ho as a lawyer. As The New Yorker reported in its sympathetic mega-profile of Hunter, Ye explained that he feared — correctly, as it turned out — that Ho was under investigation by U.S. authorities. Hunter, who occasionally dabbles in the practice of law, agreed to try to determine whether and to what extent Ho was in legal jeopardy.

CEFC Reels in the Bidens
By then, Ye and CEFC had enticed Hunter and the Biden family with promises of a huge financial score. Ye had been seeking connections with eminences on both sides of the Washington’s political aisle. These feelers eventually landed Ye a May 2017 meeting with Hunter in Miami. They began negotiating a joint venture between CEFC and the Biden family, the $40 million LNG project on Monkey Island in Louisiana — which Hunter, in familiar Bidenesque exaggeration, described in his recorded rant as “a $4 billion deal to build the largest f***ing LNG port in the world,” adding that he’d negotiated the deal at Ye’s “$58 million apartment.”

Ye certainly followed CEFC’s negotiation style in dealing with Hunter. Besides promising astronomical returns for his politically influential partners, Ye followed up the meeting by sending Hunter a thank-you card and a 2.8-carat diamond. Hilariously, Hunter told The New Yorker’s Adam Entous that it never occurred to him that this could be a bribe — “What would they be bribing me for? My dad wasn’t in office.” Leaving aside the fact that Joe Biden was already preparing his 2020 presidential run, Hunter made clear to business partners involved in the CEFC negotiations that Ye was pushing the deal because he wanted to be associated with the Biden family name.

Of course, it is not Hunter Biden who makes that name a valuable commodity.

It was Hunter’s negotiations with Ye that generated emails, first reported in the New York Post, which set forth the expected “remuneration package.” The emails are said to come from Hunter Biden’s computers, and the ones relevant to CEFC have been corroborated by Anthony Bobulinski. He is a former naval officer and wealthy investor who was recruited by James Gilliar, a Hunter Biden associate, to structure the partnership between CEFC and the Bidens — not just Hunter, but the family.

Bobulinski is a participant in the emails and had several face-to-face meetings with Hunter and Jim Biden, as well as at least two personal meetings with Joe Biden. Bobulinski has related that, in the equity distribution as originally conceived, Hunter was to receive a 20 percent cut, and to hold an additional 10 percent for his father, Joe Biden (referred to as “the big guy” in the relevant email), while Joe’s brother, Jim Biden, was also to get 10 percent. Bobulinski indicates that, by the time the deal was finalized, Joe’s 10 percent cut was to be held by Jim rather than Hunter.

As the Wall Street Journal’s Kim Strassel details, and as Bobulinski himself verified in an interview with Fox News’s Tucker Carlson, Bobulinski became disenchanted with the deal as it was negotiated in the spring and summer of 2017. He saw it as an energy business venture that required business protocols and corporate governance. He came to believe Hunter regarded it as a “personal piggybank” and objected to the fact that Hunter brought no value other than his name.

The Biden name, however, was what China wanted. And to repeat, CEFC was China, and everybody knew it. Gilliar admonished Bobulinski that the players on the CEFC side of the venture “are intelligence so they understand the value added” by the Biden connection. In text messages, Hunter scolded Bobulinski, reminding him that CEFC execs were “coming to be MY partner to be partners with the Bidens,” and that “in this instance only one player holds the trump card and that’s me. May not be fair but it’s the reality because I’m the only one putting an entire family legacy on the line.”

Hunter knew CEFC was under U.S. government investigation. Not only did Ye tell him that, Hunter agreed to look into it as counsel for Patrick Ho. In a May 2017 text, Gilliar reminded Bobulinski, “Don’t mention Joe [Biden] being involved, it’s only when u are face to face, I know you know that but they are paranoid.” Actually, it is not paranoia when you are nervous because you know you are cutting dubious deals with shady characters tied to a hostile foreign regime. Is it any wonder that Jim Biden told Bobulinski that the family was ever mindful of having “plausible deniability”?

Cashing In
The LNG venture collapsed on the Chinese end, the promised millions in capitalization never materializing. But while this cut out such participants as Bobulinski, the Bidens figured out a way to get paid.

As the Senate report details, Ye had an underling, Gongwen Dong, establish a line of credit through a business they controlled, “Hudson West III LLC,” issuing credit cards for Hunter, Jim Biden, and Jim’s wife, Sara. The three charged more than $100,000 luxury-item purchases. On August 4, a CEFC subsidiary partially underwritten by a Chinese state-owned petroleum company (Shangai Huaxin Group), sent Hunter’s law firm, Owasco, another $100,000.

Four days later, a CEFC subsidiary wired $5 million to Hudson West III; over the next year, nearly $4.8 million of these funds were transferred to Owasco — said to be for “consulting.” During the same period of time, Owasco funneled nearly $1.4 million to Jim Biden, through the bank account held by Jim and Sara Biden, under the auspices of a consulting firm, the Lion Hall Group. Hudson West also sent over $76,000 directly to Jim Biden’s Lion Hall Group, during 2018.

On November 2, 2017, CEFC attempted to send Hunter Biden’s firm $1 million through the Hudson West III account. As the Senate report details, CEFC initially explained this payment as a “consultation fee” to Hudson West III for “market investigation of a natural gas project” which was deemed unnecessary, resulting in the refund of the money. However, Hunter Biden later acknowledged that it was a $1 million fee that should have gone to his law firm for the representation of Patrick Ho, but had to be refunded because Hunter provided the wrong wire-transfer instructions. The problem was subsequently corrected, and the payment went through.

Real Collusion
Yet, the end was near.

On November 18, Ho was arrested by the FBI at JFK International Airport in New York City after he arrived on a flight from Hong Kong. When he was permitted to make a phone call upon being detained, Ho chose to call Jim Biden, the brother of the former vice president and soon-to-be presidential candidate. Jim later told the Times that he was surprised by the call (I bet!), and assumed Ho meant to call Hunter, whose contact information Jim gave to Ho. “There is nothing else I have to say,” Jim told the paper. “I don’t want to be dragged into this anymore.” Evidently, Jim made no mention of any dragging by the expense account and payments that had been steered his way thanks to CEFC and Ye — for whom Ho worked, and by whom Jim’s nephew, Hunter, was being generously paid to serve as Ho’s lawyer.

Six weeks after Ho’s arrest, Ye sent CEFC staff what would turn out to be a final directive, in what the Financial Times described as a poem in traditional Chinese style, stating, “Take heavy responsibility for the Belt and Road, Work Harder to Make New Moves.”

On February 8, 2018, federal prosecutors announced in a court filing that they would be introducing against Ho evidence derived from classified foreign intelligence surveillance. About a week later, Ye was detained in China, on the order of Xi Jinping. It is said to be a “bribery” investigation, but Ye has not been seen or heard from since.

Or, as Hunter Biden put it, “The richest man in the world is missing, who was my partner.”

For over three years, the American people were barraged with a media-Democrat drumbeat, fueled by anonymous intelligence agency leaks but based on no actual evidence, that Donald Trump had “colluded” in the intelligence operations of a hostile foreign power. Journalists and investigators scorched the earth searching for proof, particularly any financial exchanges between Trump associates and shady Russian characters tied to the Kremlin. They came up empty.

Next Tuesday, the media-Democrat complex would have the American people elect as their president Joe Biden who, based on significant evidence, appears to have been ensnared in his family’s energetic collusion with clandestine operatives of a hostile foreign power. And there is no doubt that millions of dollars were exchanged, going to the Biden family from shady Chinese characters with significant ties to the Chinese Communist Party and the regime of Xi Jinping.

Go figure.

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