Hunter Biden portrays his work on the board of Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma Holdings as an asset in U.S. efforts to pressure Russia, in his memoir Beautiful Things released on Tuesday.
Biden writes that Burisma served as a “bulwark” against Russian efforts to control Ukrainian natural gas reserves, adding that his family name would serve the U.S. in this regard.
“To put it more bluntly: having a Biden on Burisma’s board was a loud and unmistakable f***-you to Putin,” Biden writes.
The president’s son expanded on that position in an interview with the BBC on Tuesday, adding that he thought Burisma “saw my name as gold” when the company hired him in 2014.
“The reason they did was this: right at that time, the Russians had invaded and taken Crimea, and they were after the natural resources,” Biden said. “And I know that Burisma wanted to do one thing: They wanted to create a bulwark against that Russian aggression, they knew they had to expand internationally and into other sectors to diversify and protect themselves.”
Biden added, “The Biden name is synonymous with democracy and transparency, and that’s why I said it was gold to them.”
Several Obama administration officials raised concerns that Biden’s position on the Burisma board would create the appearance of a conflict of interest, since Joe Biden was tasked by President Obama with coordinating the administration’s Ukraine policy.
A Burisma adviser thanked Hunter Biden for the “opportunity” to meet with Joe Biden in 2015, in an email obtained by the New York Post in October 2020. The Biden presidential campaign denied that such a meeting ever took place, but did not deny the veracity of the email.