Chinese business records still list Skaneateles, an LLC started by Hunter Biden, as a 10% owner of the Chinese investment firm BHR Partners, more than seven months after his lawyer said he had completely divested from the venture. He had been under pressure to ditch the stake in the wake of his father winning the 2020 election.
Hunter’s lawyer Chris Clark told the New York Times in November his client “no longer holds any interest, directly or indirectly in either BHR or Skaneateles.”
“Please read the language you quoted below,” Clark told the Washington Examiner in an email Friday. “Internalize it.” He did not answer how Hunter had divested from BHR or Skaneateles, if he had sold his stake, and whether he had made money from the Chinese business effort.
White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates referred the Washington Examiner to Hunter Biden’s representatives when asked for comment.
Business records from China’s National Credit Information Publicity System continue to identify Skaneateles as a 10% owner in BHR, and U.S. business records have listed Hunter as the only owner of Skaneateles.
Chinese site Qixin says the latest filing comes from BHR itself and that it was filed last month. The 2021 annual report by BHR has an “announcement date” of June 20. Skaneateles is still listed as a “shareholder” with a 10% stake.
The Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs informed the Washington Examiner in March there have been no filings submitted for Skaneateles since Oct. 20, when a two-year report for the entity was filed listing Hunter as the sole “governor” of the company. Skaneateles is listed as “revoked” in the DCRA’s online business registry because a $300 “reinstatement fee” has not yet been paid for the LLC, a representative for DCRA told the Washington Examiner.
A report for Skaneateles from DCRA listed Hunter as the “governor” for the company as of Oct. 20, when a $400 filing fee was paid. The public business records for Skaneateles on the DCRA’s website list Hunter Biden as the “executing officer” of the company with the same address.
The DCRA site still says the most recent report for Skaneateles remains the October filing.
It’s possible China’s business registry hasn’t been updated to reflect a potential transfer or sale of Skaneateles’s 10% stake in BHR to another party, or that Hunter’s activities aren’t fully reflected in U.S. records.
Hunter’s lawyer George Mesires said in October 2019 his client joined the board of BHR when it was founded in 2013 and obtained his 10% stake in October 2017 for approximately $420,000 through Skaneateles. Mesires added in the post that his client “has not received any compensation for being on BHR’s board of directors.”
But emails from Hunter’s laptop show he was informed by his business partner in November 2018 to expect a “significant distribution” in 2019 due to BHR’s lucrative exit from Chinese battery manufacturer CATL.
Hunter’s name was removed from BHR’s board of directors in April 2020, according to the investment firm’s file on China’s National Credit Information Publicity System.
BHR has invested in multiple controversial Chinese companies, including facial recognition company Megvii, which was slapped with U.S. sanctions for its alleged participation in China’s repression of Uyghur Muslims.
Hunter wrote in his memoir Beautiful Things that in 2013, he tagged along on a trip to Beijing, where his father was meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping. At the time, Hunter was working at Rosemont Seneca, and “our deal with the biggest potential was a partnership with a Chinese private equity fund seeking to invest Chinese capital in companies outside the country.”
Hunter arranged for Vice President Biden to shake hands with BHR’s CEO in China.
Joe Biden has repeatedly maintained he has “never” spoken with his son about his overseas business dealings.
A voicemail located on a password-protected iPhone XS backup found on a copy of Hunter’s abandoned laptop indicates he did indeed have some level of awareness, however.
In the voicemail, first reported by the Daily Mail, Joe reassured Hunter he was in the “clear” following the release of a New York Times article covering his dealings with the now-defunct Chinese energy conglomerate CEFC in 2018.
During a 2020 debate with then-President Donald Trump, Biden incorrectly claimed, “My son has not made money in terms of this thing about — what are you talking about — China.”
The White House has stood by that claim.