Former Ukraine Prime Minister says country must investigate Hunter Biden
A former Prime Minister of Ukraine has said that authorities in that country must investigate Joe Biden’s son Hunter to establish whether or not his role on the board of a Ukrainian gas company complied with the nation’s laws.
“It should be investigated so that the ‘i’s can be dotted and the ‘t’s crossed,” Mykola Azarov told Reuters Saturday, adding: “If he [Hunter Biden] was simply on the books and getting money, then that could be seen as a violation of the law.”
Azarov, a former Prime Minister under Ukraine’s pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych, did not specify to which laws he was referring. President Trump and his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani have called on current Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate the Biden family dealings with Ukrainian firm Burisma Holdings Ltd.
Burisma reportedly paid Hunter Biden up to $50,000 to sit on its board at the same time as his father was leading the Obama administration’s diplomatic dealings with Kyiv, and a second private equity firm founded by the younger Biden received $3.4 million from the same company. Trump and Giuliani have alleged that when Ukrainian prosecutors tried to investigate Burisma Holdings for corruption, then-Vice President Biden pressured the government to fire the head prosecutor.
Ukraine’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau said Friday it would investigate Burisma Holdings from 2010 to 2012, but Biden did not sign on until 2014. Biden was a director on Burisma’s board from 2014 until at least 2018. Burisma has faced accusations of tax dodging and improperly securing licenses for gas deposits.
On Friday, the head of the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office said in a radio interview that neither Joe nor Hunter Biden was the subjects of any investigation. Nazar Kholodnitskiy said in the radio interview that the earlier investigation of Burisma was closed for lack of evidence in 2017, but a court in the Ukrainian capital overruled the move the following year. Despite the court’s ruling, the case has remained on hold and the investigation has stalled.
He emphasized that there was no mention of Biden or his son in the Burisma case, which was focused broadly to look into alleged abuse of power by officials in Ukraine’s Ministry of Ecology.
“As of now, there is nothing there,” he said. “If it comes up, measures will be taken to check the information.”
Azarov resigned as Prime Minister in January 2014 amid popular unrest and anger directed at the Yanukovych government. He initially fled to Austria, then to Russia, where he has remained ever since. An Interpol Red Notice issued in 2015 says he is wanted on charges including embezzlement and misappropriation of funds.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.