Hunter Biden, the son of former vice president Joe Biden, will step down from the board of a Chinese private equity firm amid a “barrage of false charges” about his work, his lawyer said Sunday. The attorney also said Biden would not work on behalf of any foreign company if his father is elected president in 2020.
The announcement comes after weeks of attacks from President Trump, who has accused the Biden family of corruption for Hunter Biden’s ties to foreign companies despite no evidence of impropriety. Mr. Trump’s request for Ukraine to investigate the Bidens sparked the House’s ongoing impeachment inquiry, which Joe Biden supports. The president also publicly called for China to investigate the Bidens.
“When Hunter engaged in his business pursuits, he believed that he was acting appropriately and in good faith,” Biden’s lawyer George Mesires wrote in a statement posted on Medium. “He never anticipated the barrage of false charges against both him and his father by the president of the United States.”
Mesires said the younger Biden will resign by the end of the month from the board of BHR (Shanghai) Equity Investment Fund Management Company, a firm founded in 2013 to invest Chinese capital outside of China. In October 2017, Biden invested $420,000 to acquire a 10% equity stake in the company, which he still holds, but he has not received a return on his investment or any compensation for his role as a board member, Mesires said.
The statement said Biden undertook his business activities “independently” and did not believe it was appropriate to discuss them with his father. Even so, Mesires said Hunter Biden would commit to following “any and all guidelines and standards” to avoid conflicts of interest if his father wins the presidency.
“In any event, Hunter will agree not to serve on boards of, or work on behalf of, foreign owned companies,” the statement said. “He will continue to keep his father personally uninvolved in his business affairs, while availing himself as necessary and appropriate to the Office of the White House Counsel to help inform his application of the Biden Administration’s guidelines or standards to his business decision-making.”
The statement also addressed Hunter Biden’s five years of work for Burisma, a Ukrainian gas company that is central to Mr. Trump’s unfounded accusations. Mesires acknowledged that Hunter Biden was compensated for his service on Burisma’s board, but pointed out that no law enforcement agency has “alleged that Hunter engaged in wrongdoing at any point during his five-year term.” Biden stepped down from the Burisma board in April 2019.
The Ukrainian prosecutor-general said this month that his office would review previous cases involving Burisma.
After a whistleblower complaint revealed that Mr. Trump asked Ukraine’s president to investigate the Bidens, the president has relentlessly accused the Biden family of corrupt dealings with foreign companies, despite a lack of evidence of wrongdoing. Mr. Trump’s own children have engaged in numerous international business deals during his presidency.
The complaint about Mr. Trump’s phone call with Ukraine’s president set off the impeachment inquiry, with House Democrats accusing the president of abusing his office and asking a foreign power to interfere in the 2020 president election.