Hunter Biden's former business associates were hinting at a push to "get Joe involved" in a joint venture with Chinese Energy Company CEFC and make the venture appear as a "truly family business" to the Chinese, according to text messages obtained and reviewed by Fox News.
In text messages dating back to 2017, Hunter's now-ex-associates James Gilliar and Tony Bobulinski discussed a breakdown of the joint venture with CEFC, the "stakes" and appeared to hint at discussions about getting the now-president-elect involved.
In a back-and-forth over the terms of the company, Gilliar, in a May 11, 2017 text message to Bobulinski, wrote: "Man U are right let's get the company set up, then tell H and family the high stakes and get Joe involved."
It was unclear how the group, which included Gilliar, Bobulinski, Hunter Biden, Jim Biden, and Rob Walker, may have intended to get Biden involved.
Biden repeatedly has denied being involved with his son’s business dealings.
In another exchange, Bobulinski, in a text message to Gilliar on April 30, 2017, asked, "what is the deal w Jim Biden as he wasn’t part of the discussion but now seems a focal point."
Gilliar replied: "With H demons, could be good to have a back up, he strengthens our USP to Chinese as it looks like a truly family business, and I like the dude."
"USP" in business dealings typically stands for "unique selling proposition" or "unique selling point." A source, though, said "USP" could also stand for U.S. persons.
Days earlier, in a conversation regarding a meeting which included what appeared to be high-level CEFC executives including the chairman—slated for Sunday, May 7, 2017— Gilliar asked Bobulinski to come up with an "a lister to meet chairman Sunday."
"Ok. A ‘lister’?" Bobulinski replied on May 4, 2017.
"Top person at same level as chairman, who would like to access China or money," Gilliar replied. "It’s the way it works culturally for them."
Gilliar added: "And empowers the B family so therefore us."
The following day, Gilliar texted Bobulinski: "Think Joe may come Sunday. I’m hoping."
"Yah I told Jim [Biden] that’s a no brainer if he can make it he should be there," Bobulinski replied on May 5, 2017.
Gilliar replied: "Agreed."
A source familiar told Fox News that Joe Biden did not attend the May 7, 2017 meeting.
The text messages came during what appeared to be a critical time in the organization of the joint-venture — between Hunter and Jim Biden and their associates, Gilliar, Bobulinski and Rob Walker. The venture, called Sinohawk Holdings, was meant to be a partnership with Chinese energy firm CEFC.
The venture never came to fruition and the transfer of CEFC funds to Sinohawk Holdings never took place.
In another text exchange on May 18, 2017, between Gilliar and Bobulinski, the two discussed the joint venture again. This time, Bobulinski raised "concerns" about the structure of the undertaking.
"H brought in Jim simply to leverage getting more equity for himself and family in the final hour, that is evident," Bobulinski texted.
"I know why the [sic] wants the deal and what makes it enormous, it’s the family name in reality, they could have asked for 51 per cent, maybe u would not be interested but many US moguls would have been."
Gilliar added: "Ye wants."
The following day, in an extended discussion, Bobulinski asked Gilliar if he had spoken to "rob or H."
"No I haven’t," Gilliar replied. "Spoke with Jim 15 mins ago and told him to get H to call u, think he’s with Joe in Wilmington."
Two days later, on May 20, 2017, Gilliar texts Bobulinski again, stating: "Don't mention Joe being involved, it's only when u are face to face, I know u know that but they are paranoid."
"OK they should be paranoid about things," Bobulinski says.
Gilliar replies: "For real."
Gilliar, in October, issued a statement to the Wall Street Journal "to clear up any speculation that former Vice President Biden was involved with the 2017 discussions about our potential business structure."
"I am unaware of any involvement at any time of the former Vice President," Gilliar told the Journal in October.
Gilliar did not respond to Fox News’ request for comment on the text messages appearing to reference Joe Biden.
Fox News exclusively reported in October, after obtaining text messages, that Bobulinski met with Joe Biden in early May 2017 on the sidelines of the Milken Conference in California.
Days after that meeting, Gilliar sent an email discussing "renumeration packages" for those involved in the deal. The email included a note that "Hunter [Biden] has some office expectations he will elaborate."
A proposed equity split referenced "20" for "H" and "10 held by H for the big guy?" with no further details. Bobulinski repeatedly has said "the big guy" was Joe Biden.
"Joe Biden has never even considered being involved in business with his family, nor in any overseas business whatsoever," Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates told Fox News in October. "He has never held stock in any such business arrangements nor has any family member or any other person ever held stock for him."
The Biden campaign released the former vice president's tax documents and returns, which did not reflect any involvement with Chinese investments. The Biden transition declined to comment to Fox News.
Hunter Biden confirmed last week that he is under federal investigation for his "tax affairs."
A well-placed government source told Fox News that Hunter Biden has been a subject/target of the grand jury investigation. According to the source, a "target" means that there is a "high probability that person committed a crime," while a "subject" is someone you "don't know for sure" has committed a crime.
The source said President-elect Biden is not a subject of any grand jury investigation at this time.
The source also told Fox News that this investigation was predicated, in part, by Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) regarding suspicious foreign transactions.
Another source familiar with the investigation told Fox News the SARs were regarding funds from "China and other foreign nations."
A Treasury Department official, who did not comment on the investigation, spoke broadly about SARs, telling Fox News that SARs are filed by financial institutions "if there is something out of the ordinary about a particular transaction."
The official told Fox News that the mere filing of a SAR does not mean there has been a criminal act, or violation of regulations, but instead, flags that a transaction is "out of the ordinary" for the customer. The official noted, though, that a SAR could be part of a money laundering or tax investigation.
The investigation, according to a source familiar with the matter, began in 2018.