Trump’s Ukraine controversy cast spotlight on Hunter Biden’s business dealings

WASHINGTON -- In June, two months after Joe Biden launched his 2020 campaign for president, The New Yorker published what many saw as a pre-emptive inoculation against his son's many troubles that might damage Biden’s campaign.

In the piece, the recovering Hunter Biden acknowledged a longtime addiction to cocaine and alcohol. He also acknowledged frequenting prostitutes, and having other marital difficulties.

The New Yorker also detailed Hunter's two questionable business deals, including a $1.5 billion donation from a Chinese businessman to a private equity firm, BHR Partners, on whose board Hunter sat.

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"Hunter became an unpaid member of BHR’s board but did not take an equity stake in BHR Partners until after his father left the White House," The New Yorker said.

The president's attorney, Rudy Giuliani, maintained in a fiery accusation on Fox News Sunday that the money was donated days after the younger Biden flew with his father to China aboard Air Force Two.

"When he comes back ... eight days later, the kid gets a billion dollars in his ridiculous private equity fund run by a recovering drug addict," he said.

President Trump has faced a whirlwind of criticism following accusations that he tried to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate the Biden family dealings, using military aid as leverage. But the controversy has also renewed scrutiny on the Biden family's questionable business dealings.

A second private equity firm founded by Biden received $3.4 million from a Ukrainian gas company, Burisma Holdings. Burisma Holdings also paid Hunter up to $50,000 a month to sit on its board.

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Giuliani said when Ukrainian prosecutors investigated Burisma Holdings for corruption, then-Vice President Joe Biden pressured the government to fire its head prosecutor.

"When Biden got the prosecutor fired, the new prosecutor who Biden approved -- you don’t get to approve a prosecutor in a foreign country unless something fishy is going on -- the new prosecutor dropped the case," Giuliani said.

The Biden camp maintains Giuliani is wrong -- that Biden, as well as other Western leaders and the International Monetary Fund, wanted the prosecutor fired because he wasn't aggressive enough in investigating the pro-Russian head of Ukraine's natural resources ministry, Mykola Zlochevsky, who also secretly headed Burisma Holdings through shell companies. It was only after the Ukraine government changed hands in a popular anti-Russian uprising that Hunter Biden was appointed to the board.

There wasn't a hint "of scandal at all when we were there and I impose the same strict rules," Joe Biden said last August.

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Separately, Joe Biden's brother, James Biden, is also being sued for conspiracy to defraud a business partner.

"James Biden repeatedly would try to leverage his brother Joe Biden's connections ... connections to the court systems, connections to labor unions, connections to the Department of Veterans Affairs with the hopes that ... he could get my clients lucrative contracts. But none of these promises were fulfilled," the plaintiff’s attorney Robert Peal, told Fox News.

An attorney representing James Biden did not respond to Fox News' request for a response. Joe Biden and his family have denied any impropriety.

"I have never discussed with my son or my brother or anyone else anything having to do with our businesses. Period," Joe Biden said in August.

The New Yorker reported in its June piece that Hunter Biden declined a second term on Burisma Holdings' board, and that his decision to serve on the board during a first term was a mistake.

"It certainly wasn’t worth the grief,” he said. "I would never have been able to predict that Donald Trump would have picked me out as the tip of the spear against the one person they believe can beat them.”