Politics & Policy

Consulting Firm Hired by Burisma Leveraged Biden’s Name to Secure Meeting with State Dept.

Joe Biden with his son Hunter as they walk down Pennsylvania Avenue, January 20, 2009. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)

A consulting firm representing Burisma Holdings used the Biden name to leverage a meeting between the gas company and State Department officials, according to documents released this week.

The firm, Washington-based Blue Star Strategies, mentioned the name of Hunter Biden, who then sat on Burisma’s board, in a request for the Ukrainian natural gas company executives to meet with State Department officials, according to internal State Department email exchanges obtained by journalist John Solomon and later reported by the Wall Street Journal.

Blue Star representatives also mentioned Biden’s name during the resulting meeting, which they claim was scheduled as part of an effort to rehabilitate Burisma’s reputation in Washington following a corruption investigation.

Hunter Biden was appointed to Burisma’s board in 2014 while his father was vice president and resigned from the board in April of this year. It is unclear whether he was aware his name was being used by Blue Star in discussions with the State Department.

During a July 25 phone call with Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, President Trump asked Zelensky to help his administration investigate allegations that Biden used his position as vice president to help Burisma avoid a corruption probe soon after his son was appointed to the board, a controversy that has become the focal point of the impeachment probe against Trump.

In spring, 2016, Biden called on Ukraine to fire the prosecutor who had been investigating the energy company paying his son. The vice president threatened to withdraw $1 billion in U.S. military aid to Ukraine if the country did not fire the prosecutor, who was accused by the State Department and U.S. allies in Europe of being soft on corruption.

Joe Biden defended his son’s business dealings in Ukraine last month, saying neither is guilty of any wrongdoing and he is “proud of the judgment he made.”

His son has promised he will not serve on the boards of foreign companies in the wake of the controversy and resigned last month from the board of a Chinese private equity company.

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