Biden’s Son On Ukraine Gas Company Board
The son of U.S. vice president Joe Biden and a family friend of Secretary of State John Kerry have been appointed to the board of directors of the Ukraine’s largest private gas producer.
The company, Burisma Holdings, is also owned by Nikolai Zlochevsky, an ally of ousted Russia-backed President Viktor Yanukovych, reports the Wall Street Journal.
In addition to being a former member of Parliament for Yanukovych’s Party of Regions, Zlochevsky was Yanukovych’s minister of environmental protection from July 2010 and then become minister of ecology and natural resources from December 2010 to April 2012. Both are key positions with influence over the oil and gas industry.
Zlochevsky was then appointed deputy secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, a role he held until the pro-Russian Yanukovych government collapsed in late February.
“During his tenure as a government minister, Burisma and entities associated with the firm received a large number of permits for oil and gas exploration in Ukraine and stepped up their output considerably, according to Ukrainian press reports,” notes the Wall Street Journal.
A further look at Burisma’s board of directors shows Aleksander Kwasniewski, the former left-wing president of Poland from 1995-2005, is also a member. During his early years, Kwasniewski was active in communist political circles.
Director of the Board is Alan Apter, an American investment banker who has worked in the former Soviet Union who joined Burisma as chairman last year.
Apter said he met Devon Archer, a college roommate of Secretary Kerry’s stepson, H.J. Heinz Co. ketchup heir Christopher Heinz, through mutual friends. Apter invited Archer and later Hunter Biden, the youngest son of Vice President Biden, to join the board.
Hunter Biden will be responsible for the Burisma’s legal unit, according to a company press release. Devon Archer will help the gas firm attract U.S. investors, improve its corporate governance and expand its operations.
Both Biden and Archer have further ties to the Obama administration.
Biden’s work as a lobbyist came under scrutiny when his father was a Senator. The younger Biden gave up his position when his father became Barack Obama’s running mate in 2008.
“When he had been senator, Mr. Obama sought more than $3.4 million in earmarks for clients of Hunter Biden, and succeeded in getting $192,000 for St. Xavier University near Chicago, according to public disclosure records,” reports the Wall Street Journal.
Hunter Biden also ran a ponzi scheme for Texas financier R. Allen Stanford, who is serving a 110-year prison sentence for fraud.
Devon Archer was an adviser to Secretary Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign and co-chaired his National Finance Committee. According to Archer’s biography, he serves as a trustee of the Heinz Family Office, which manages the family business.
Private gas production in the Ukraine makes up only 10-percent of total production. Burisma is the largest private company, producing 450 million cubic meters of gas in 2013. The company seeks to capitalize on the increasing need for energy sources outside of Russia due to the current political crisis.
The main goal behind Biden and Archer’s appointments is to improve the company’s corporate governance and attract foreign capital.