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Did China Bribe Biden to Protect a U.S. Bank Takeover?

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“I am sitting here with my father and we would like to understand why the commitment made has not been fulfilled,” Hunter Biden threatened in a WhatsApp message to a CEFC associate.

If his demands were not met, the future president’s son warned, “I will make certain that between the man sitting next to me and every person he knows and my ability to forever hold a grudge that you will regret not following my direction.”

Hunter would later claim that Joe Biden wasn’t actually there and he had been drunk or high.

Whatever the truth, next month a CEFC affiliate sent $5 million, half of the $10 million Hunter had demanded, to a joint company set up by Hunter and a CEFC figure, $400,000 was then transferred to a shell company, $150,000 was diverted to a company controlled by Joe Biden’s brother James, $50,000 of which was diverted to a personal checking account and $40,000 of which was sent as a personal check to Joe Biden for a “loan repayment.”

But one unanswered question is why CEFC China Energy would have been intimidated by Biden’s threats at all. In July 2017, Joe Biden was out of the White House and while he was a potential presidential candidate, that was still years away.

Why did CEFC feel nervous enough to cut the Bidens a very sizable check in 2017?

The answer may lie with a March 2017 deal in which CEFC had tried to acquire a stake in the Cowen Group: a somewhat obscure investment bank based out of New York City. The deal would have had to win the approval of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS) and under the Trump administration, China’s investments were not winning approval.

CEFC’s 19.9% stake in the Cowen Group came at the same time as CFIUS was scrutinizing attempted Chinese purchases of MoneyGram, Genworth Financial and Lattice Semiconductor. These various deals fell apart or, as in CEFC’s case, were shut down by CFIUS. By August, CEFC had cut their check to the Bidens, but by September were forced to refile their proposal, and by November had announced that CFIUS process was just too onerous to continue.

The timeline raises the distinct possibility that CEFC was protecting its Cowen Group investment while trying to avoid any problems during the CFIUS process. While CFIUS is led by the heads of departments such as the Treasury Department and the Department of Defense, CEFC might have reasonably believed that the former VP could cause problems.

Or it may have been working on a Plan B to wait and refile under a future Biden administration.

But an underlying question is what did CEFC, a Chinese energy company, want with a New York investment bank? The answer may be that some Chinese companies looking to expand into the United States had found it easier to buy into existing American investment companies.

The huge investments in Morgan Stanley and Blackstone by the China Investment Corporation, the Communist country’s largest sovereign wealth fund, helped open the door to a generation of deals. Canyon Bridge Capital Partners, a Chinese backed fund, had struggled and failed to acquire Lattice, a tech company with potential military applications.

What was CEFC after? The Bidens were looking for energy investments in the U.S. for CEFC. A year earlier, CEFC had tried to buy into Putin’s Rosneft and into the Czech Republic. CEFC’s ties to the Communist regime would have made a deal for any major asset of strategic importance in the energy sector a challenging matter to get past CFIUS review, but by acquiring a stake in an existing American financial institution, CEFC may have hoped to bypass it.

Cowen would have served as a front group for CEFC and its backers in the Communist system.

Two years before Hunter’s late night rant and the $5 million check, the “Made in China 2025” strategy to build up the Communist dictatorship’s domestic industries through “mergers, equity investment and venture capital investment overseas” had already been announced.

This would and indeed did bypass CFIUS on some occasions especially when the companies involved were more obscure. And a former VP and even his addict son could however have blown the whistle and spoiled the first step of a potential process for buying a strategic asset.

The Cowen Group deal did not evade CFIUS scrutiny and the prolonged review process scuttled the deal, but by then the Bidens had gotten paid and that was what mattered.

What was China getting from the Bidens? Among other things it may have been silence.

Hunter Biden and his business partners might have understood CEFC’s plans and while they were between presidencies, they had more than enough connections in D.C. to make the Cowen deal and whatever goals it was meant to achieve into enough of an issue that would have doomed it.

Once Hunter had sent his WhatsApp message, his Chinese business partners would have seen it as a threat from Joe Biden, and would have intended the money as a bribe for the future president.

While CEFC was raiding America, it believed it was paying off the former vice president.

Earlier in 2017, Biden business partners had tried to solicit Joe Biden to attend a CEFC meeting because the “B family” needed a “top person at same level as chairman, who would like to access China or money”. That was followed by a warning, “Don’t mention Joe being involved, it’s only when u are face to face, I know u know that but they are paranoid.” While Biden never showed up to that meeting, his name kept showing up in business dealings involving CEFC later that year.

A year after the infamous “sitting here with my father” message, the New York Times finally ran a story discussing Hunter’s CEFC dealings. Joe Biden then left a message for his son, “I thought the article released online, it’s going to be printed tomorrow in the Times, was good.”

“I think you’re clear,” he added.

Daniel Greenfield is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. This article previously appeared at the Center’s Front Page Magazine.

Thank you for reading.


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