FBI knew in 2016 Hunter’s team plotted $120 million Ukrainian deal while Joe was VP

FBI knew in 2016 Hunter’s team plotted $120 million Ukrainian deal while Joe was VP

Hunter Biden slated to serve on board of new venture to be incorporated in Liechtenstein and funded by controversial Ukrainian oligarch, memos show.

By John Solomon and Steven Richards

The FBI learned as far back as 2016 that Hunter Biden and his partners had plotted to set up a new venture in tax-friendly Liechtenstein that would be capitalized by a whopping $120 million investment from the controversial owner of the Ukrainian energy firm Burisma Holdings, according to documents obtained by Just the News that have been kept from the American public for eight years.

The mega-deal was not referenced inside Hunter Biden’s now infamous laptop or during the 2019 impeachment proceedings involving Ukraine, but was instead chronicled in a trove of 3.39 million documents the FBI seized from Hunter Biden and his business partners during an investigation of securities fraud nearly a decade ago.

The cache of documents was recently turned over by former Hunter Biden business partner Devon Archer to the House Oversight Committee as part of its impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden’s conduct.

The new evidence shows the major investment plan was being built at the time when Hunter Biden was serving on Burisma’s board of directors and Joe Biden was still serving as Barack Obama’s vice president in charge of U.S.-Ukraine policy.

The memos state Hunter Biden was also supposed to serve on the board of the new company called Burnham Energy Security LLC, and it was going to be capitalized in 2015 by Burisma owner Nykola Zlochevsky, who at a time was trying to get out from under corruption allegations in his home country.

The Hunter Biden-connected Burnham entity was slated to get a quarter of the new venture’s net revenues without putting up any cash, according to recent testimony to Congress from one of the partners.

Zlochevsky, the Ukrainian oligarch, meanwhile was committed to “$120 Million over thirty-six (36) months to be invested in exploration and leasehold improvements” in the new venture designed to make Burisma a global energy leader, according to a prospectus for the project.

Hunter Biden’s attorney, Abbe Lowell, did not respond to a request for comment from Just the News.

Hunter Biden’s “credibility” for venture

Zlochevsky’s top lieutenant, Vadym Pozharskyi, wrote in an August 2015 email that it was important to his boss for Hunter Biden to be involved with Burnham Energy.

“You mentioned to me that it’s also you and HB [Hunter Biden] who will be the founders of the Llc in Delaware. Cliff mentioned only yourself,” Pozharskyi wrote Archer in August 2015 in one email obtained by Just the News. “For credibility ‘Ukrainian’ purposes you both would be better.”

It is unclear exactly what Pozharskyi meant by “credibility,” but Just the News previously reported that Burisma saw Hunter Biden’s involvement on its board as a form of protection, especially from pressure by its own government, according to Archer’s testimony for the House impeachment inquiry.

Another partner, Jason Galanis, testified to Congress that he believed Archer and Biden were placed on the board to protect the company from Ukrainian investigations and prosecutions.

Pozharskyi also communicated directly with Hunter Biden about the venture. “Burnham Energy Security Fund: we started a legal discussion between our lawyers and legal counsels from your side (through Devon’s kind introduction). At the moment, we’re working on structure and all related issues,” Pozharskyi wrote in an Aug. 12, 2015, email to the future first son and Archer.

That email was sent just a few months after Joe Biden met with Pozharskyi and other Hunter Biden foreign business partners at a dinner at the swanky Cafe Milano restaurant in Washington, D.C., in April 2015, according to evidence released by Congress in the Joe Biden impeachment inquiry.

Nearly 200 documents among the evidence gathered by the FBI in 2016 mentioned Burnham Energy Security LLC (BESL), almost all of them referencing Hunter Biden or his role at the parent firm Burnham Asset Management (BAM).

“What’s a current role of HB [Hunter Biden] in BAM and what role he’ll have in BESL?” a top official working for Zlochevsky’s firm asked in an Aug. 25, 2015, email

“HB is a W-2 employee of BAM and the Vice-Chairman of the parent company which owns 100% of BAM. HB is also contemplated as a director of BESL,” a lawyer drafting the deal wrote back.

Deal takes an unexpected turn

The evidence showed lawyers in both the United States and Ukraine were putting a final term sheet together ahead of September 2015 when Hunter Biden’s team got two consecutive pieces of bad news in a 24-hour span.

First, one of Hunter Biden’s business associates, Galanis, was arrested in the securities fraud case on Sept. 24, 2015. Then, that same day, the then-U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, gave a speech pressuring that country’s prosecutors to pursue Zlochevsky on corruption charges after months of inaction in the case.

The Pyatt speech proved particularly troublesome for Biden, Archer and Burisma. They quickly hired a Democrat-friendly U.S. lobbying and public relations firm called Blue Star Strategies to deal with the fallout and to pressure U.S. officials in the Obama-Biden State Department to quash any Ukrainian allegations of Burisma corruption.

A month after the Pyatt speech, Burisma officials came up with a wish list of what they hoped Pyatt would be forced to say as damage control about their owner, referred to in the emails by his initials “NZ.”

“Target: Us ambassador communicates to Ukraine officials I.e. President administration formally/informally  that he/U.S. government is ok with NZ, supports him and Burisma,” one email summarizing Burisma’s wish list read. “Other U.S. High ranking officials communicate this message to President Administration. President Administration and other agencies ( general prosecutors office ) do not pursue NZ. NZ freely travels home. Ambassador Pyatt loves NZ.”

Archer, Hunter Biden’s close associate at the time, thought that request might be too much given how harshly Pyatt had criticized Zlochevsky in his speech a few weeks earlier.

“I think this might be a little too overt but this was the feedback below,” Archer wrote a Blue Star executive in October 2015.  “Anyway to tone down but in operate [sic] would be useful.”

Pyatt’s speech unexpectedly kicked Ukrainian prosecutors into a more aggressive effort to investigate Zlochevsky in fall 2015, an effort that came to an abrupt halt when Vice President Joe Biden pressured Ukraine to fire the chief prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, by threatening to withhold $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees. Archer told Congress last year that Burisma wanted Hunter Biden to get help from “D.C.” to deal with the pressure from the Shokin probe.

The Yuzivska Block

There is no evidence the Burnham Energy Security deal got resurrected after the tumultuous events of fall 2015. But a series of drafts of the term sheet for the proposed venture details the primary goals of the partnership between the Burnham group and the Ukrainian oligarch: expanding Burisma’s energy production both inside and outside of Ukraine.

Burnham Energy Security would be a “vehicle to acquire the rights to explore and recover hydrocarbons within the Yuzivska Block of the State of Ukraine, with the intention of scaling and expanding exploration and recovery to Mexico, Kazakhstan and other locations,” reads the term sheet obtained and reviewed by Just the News. Importantly, the new firm would be used for “all expansion bidding” on Burisma’s behalf globally.

The Yuzivska Block, the natural gas field in Eastern Ukraine referenced in the sheet, is near the region in Ukraine that was under threat from Russian-backed separatists at the time. Those separatist groups in the far east of the country had declared independence from the central government in Kyiv as a result of the Revolution of Dignity, or Maidan Revolution, in 2014 which brought the central government closer to the West. That same year saw the Royal Dutch Shell Corp. withdraw from a gas exploration project in gas field citing geopolitical concerns, opening the market for Burisma.

Hunter Biden—who was serving as a board member of Burisma at the time—is not mentioned in the term sheet, which lists Devon Archer as the director of the proposed entity.

However, email communications between lawyers responsible for hammering out the deal show the group was considering Hunter Biden to be a director of the enterprise along with fellow Burisma board member and former Polish President Alexander Kwasnieski.

The Liechtenstein Factor

The joint venture envisioned establishing an entity in the small European country of Liechtenstein. It is unclear exactly why, however, the country does boast significant tax benefits, including no capital gains taxes.

The partners may have also wished to obscure the direct relationship with Burisma owner Zlochevsky. At the time, the oligarch’s public reputation had taken hits after his assets were frozen in the United Kingdom beginning in 2014. After Ukrainian authorities refused to cooperate with the British probe and Zlochevsky’s accounts were unfrozen, a Ukrainian deputy prosecutor came forward to allege the Burisma owner had bribed the Ukrainian authorities.

“We consider three of jurisdictions [sic] in order to incorporate a fund: USA, Lichtenstein [sic] and Luxembourg. We inclined [sic] to Lichtenstein [sic], that uses [sic] commonly for such purposes as we need to achieve,” the Ukrainian side wrote in an August 2015 email.

“Lichtenstein [sic] is the preferred jurisdiction for the entity” and “The best structure for the intended purpose is a Lichtenstein [sic] limited liability company (LLC, Ltd.),” the American side replied.

The documents and emails do not make clear whether or not Hunter Biden or his partners stood to directly benefit from the arrangement. But the term sheet outlines that net revenue from the venture would be distributed between Zlochevsky’s company (75%) and the Burnham Asset Management branch headquartered in the United Kingdom (25%).

Trading on the Biden name and connections

What Hunter Biden and Devon Archer were up to is clearer, however, based on the testimony of an ex-partner and emails obtained from the laptop. Galanis testified that he worked with Archer and Biden to build the Burnham group into a global, multibillion-dollar hedge fund marrying foreign investors with the “globally known political name” Biden.

The plan focused on building global cooperation between prominent investors from all continents, including deals with high-powered oligarchs from Russia and Kazakhstan, Chinese government-linked businessmen, and politically connected Mexican tycoons, among others, Just the News previously reported.

The first event which spelled trouble for the proposed venture was the arrest of Galanis.

In his testimony to Congress earlier this year, Galanis explicitly mentioned this proposed Burisma investment in Burnham and how his arrest and subsequent conviction related to it.

“Burnham also reached an agreement with a Ukrainian oligarch, Mykola Zlochevsky, for a $120 million investment into a new Burnham entity. The financial arrangement documented by the U.S. and Ukrainian lawyers laid out a 25 percent profit participation for the Burnham partners,” Galanis told the impeachment inquiry.

“The Burnham partners were not required to put up 25% of the capital. Instead, Burnham was putting up the relationship capital of the Biden name in foreign markets like Kazakhstan and Mexico and elsewhere where oil concessions were sought from government,” he added. Galanis testified the venture was set to begin with pursuing a production sharing agreement to take over the gas field from the Shell oil company in Eastern Ukraine.

But, the fund was unusual. The Burnham side, made up of Hunter Biden and his business partners, would not have to put up any of the initial investment. Instead, Galanis testified, their contribution was relationship capital–including the political connections that are associated with the Biden family name.

“Mykola would put up all the money. We, Burnham, would put up the investment banking expertise and the political connects and influence in foreign countries where we were seeking oil and gas leases,” Galanis told Congress.

In one email, Galanis makes explicitly clear that Archer and Biden were also offering “nonlegal” protection to Zlochevsky, its main investor.

“At the end of the day, the other non legal protection is the relationship cover of DA and HB,” Galanis wrote in late August 2015.

The Tribal Bond scheme

Eventually, the plan fell through when a fraudulent tribal bonds scheme brought down Galanis in September of that year. Archer would ultimately be wrapped up in the case, too.

Both were ultimately convicted for their role in the scheme. Archer appealed his conviction, and the conviction was overturned and then reinstated. Archer eventually appealed to the Supreme Court, which affirmed the conviction.

Recently, a federal judge ordered Archer to be resentenced after he was originally ordered to prison for one year. Archer had argued that a sentencing guidelines calculation error warranted a second look from the judge because of “ineffective assistance of counsel.”

Hunter Biden was not charged. However, Galanis told Congress the tribal bonds scheme was executed in order to raise funds for the Burnham enterprises, of which Hunter Biden was a part. 

“In an effort to build this financial platform, I engaged in unlawful conduct. Our companies were entrusted with $11 billion of union members’ pension fund money, whose trust I betrayed. I pleaded guilty, and I had 8 years in Federal custody to reflect on my actions, and I’m profoundly sorry for my role in these actions,” Galanis told congressional investigators in his opening statement.


(TLB) published   this report with permission of John Solomon at Just the News.  Click Here to read about the staff at Just the News

Header featured image (edited) credit: Hunter/Getty Images

Emphasis added by (TLB)



Stay tuned tuned…


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