The Biden family offered their services to a huge, Chinese-government-linked energy consortium to expand its business around the world. How do we know? Because of hundreds of emails documenting the deal found on Hunter Biden’s laptop, left in a Delaware repair shop in April 2019. In her new book, “Laptop from Hell,” New York Post columnist Miranda Devine tells the tale:
James Gilliar, a wiry, 56-year-old British ex-SAS officer, got to know Ye Jianming, the 40-year-old chairman of CEFC, when they were both working in the Czech Republic.
CEFC was a Chinese conglomerate, one of the largest energy companies in the world.
Ye’s task at was to spend $1.5 billion as quickly as possible to ensure the Czech Republic would become China’s “Gateway to the European Union,” a priority of President Xi.
To that end, Ye bought everything from a football team and a brewery to an airline, before being named “special economic advisor” to Czech President Milos Zeman.
Now he was looking for an influential partner to help with acquisitions in other locations around the world that had strategic significance for the Chinese state.
Gilliar had an idea who could help: The Biden family.
Gilliar connected with Hunter Biden through trusted Biden family friend Rob Walker, a former Clinton administration official whose wife, Betsy Massey Walker, had been Jill Biden’s assistant when she was Second Lady.
Gilliar emailed Walker in February 2015 to praise Hunter’s appearance in Beijing at a board meeting of the fledgling investment fund Hunter had founded with John Kerry’s son, called BHR.
“Hunter was great,” Gilliar wrote to Walker. “True sheikh of Washington.”
He emailed Hunter a few weeks later: “It has been made clear to me that CEFC wish to engage in further business relations with our group.”
Gilliar knew CEFC was the capitalist arm of President Xi’s Belt and Road Initiative to spread China’s influence — and debt traps — across the world. No Chinese company executed its goals more ardently than CEFC and its young chairman, who was dubbed the “Belt and Road billionaire” in the press.
Chairman Ye had built his provincial energy company into a Fortune 500 colossus virtually overnight, an achievement described by Chinese news agency Caixin as “another great enigma in the miraculous world of Chinese business.” He enjoyed the support of President Xi and was former deputy secretary general of the government’s propaganda arm, the China Association for International Friendly Contacts.
In a rare interview with Caixin at CEFC’s palatial marble headquarters in Shanghai’s upscale French Concession District, Ye is portrayed as a “hermit king” sitting on a golden chair in “a room that resembles a miniature Great Hall of the People.”
Uniformed staff members wearing earpieces glide by. “Most of them were young women wearing smart clothes and bright faces.”
Ye’s face was “as expressionless as a stone statue. Amidst the gilded surroundings, his canvas shoes had an eye-catching plainness. . . .
“In his public activities as a private entrepreneur, Ye Jianming is al- ways walking alongside important foreign political figures. He has been photographed with world leaders such as Israeli President Peres, Turkish President Erdogan, Chadian President Déby, and European Commission President Juncker. He has met with the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, and the Prime Minister of Bulgaria held a feast to welcome him.”
In the winter of 2015, Chairman Ye and CEFC Executive Director Jianjun Zang, a.k.a. “Director Zang,” flew to Washington, DC. A meeting with Ye was scheduled in Hunter’s diary for December 7, 2015, in a week that was a swirl of back-to-back Christmas parties hosted by Joe and Jill at the vice president’s residence at the Naval Observatory.
One of his former associates, who spoke on condition of anonymity, believes that Hunter brought Chairman Ye to meet Joe at one of those parties. There is no indication of any such meeting on the laptop, but Hunter had a pattern of introducing business associates to Joe when they came to DC.
After a frustrating experience in another Chinese deal as a minority partner in private equity firm BHR, in which the payday would not come until the end of the fund’s life, Hunter and his uncle Jim Biden wanted more control of the CEFC partnership and a regular income stream.
Enter Tony Bobulinski. The naval officer turned wealthy institutional investor came highly recommended by Gilliar to build what they planned would be a world-class investment firm, called SinoHawk, named after Hunter’s late brother Beau’s favorite animal, the hawk.
In December 2015, Gilliar tells Bobulinski he needs help structuring a Chinese joint venture for “one of the most prominent families in the United States.”
The plan is to “build an investment firm like Goldman Sachs,” he writes in a WhatsApp message, transcripts of which were obtained separate from the laptop.
“The family is the Biden family,” Gilliar will soon disclose. Joe, who has announced that he will not run for president in 2016, will be actively involved once he leaves office, and the Bidens expect billions of dollars of projects to flow through the company, Gilliar says.
He lets Bobulinski in on the last piece of the puzzle in March 2016: the Bidens’ Chinese partner is CEFC, which has “more money than God,” he writes. “This is the capital arm of one belt one road.”
At about this time, Bobulinski is introduced to Rob Walker, who tells him he is “a proxy for Hunter Biden, Jim Biden and the Bidens around the world.”
Finally, in February 2017, Gilliar sends Bobulinski a WhatsApp message saying he wants to introduce him to his “partner.”
“Who is your partner?” asks Bobulinski.
“Hunter Biden,” replies Gilliar.
Bobulinski is leery. “I understand you want me to . . . help drive things in the US, but Hunter is [already] here.”
Gilliar: “Money there, intent there . . . skill sets missing . . . We need to create the best deal platform in history, and they haven’t got a clue.” Bobulinski doesn’t like the fact Hunter “was kicked out of US Navy for cocaine use.”
“But he’s super smart,” says Gilliar. “Just a lot of under achievers around them using their name. Has a few demons but u are used to those, right?”
Bobulinski asks: “Is he the decision maker or the Chinese?”
Gilliar: “New platform. Best discuss face to face but I’m the driver.”
Later, Bobulinski asks: “Ok who is putting up the $10MM [million]?”
Gilliar: “Joint vehicle — half us and then equally split — money is already in. Discuss more face to face.”
Three weeks after his father left office, in 2017, Hunter flew to Miami with Gilliar and Walker to meet Chairman Ye, who was there for the Miami International Boat Show.
They booked into the $700 a night beachfront Nobu Hotel on Monday, Feb. 13, 2017, and scheduled lunch with the Chinese for Thursday in a private room set for 10 at the Bourbon Steak restaurant in the ritzy JW Marriott Turnberry Resort & Spa, where Ye was staying with his entourage.
But Hunter flew home the day before the lunch. He already had met with Ye, over a private dinner on the Tuesday night, at which the CEFC chairman made him an offer too good to refuse: $10 million a year, for a minimum of three years, for “introductions alone,” as Hunter would later assert in an imperious email to CEFC executives.
Ye sealed the new alliance with a rich gift — a 3.16 carat diamond worth $80,000. Photographs of the stunning stone appear on Hunter’s laptop along with a grading report that lists it as a “round brilliant” of Grade F with prime “VS2” clarity and “excellent” cut.
The gift could not have come at a better time. Hunter was in the middle of an ugly divorce from Kathleen, and his office manager, Joan Peugh, had just sent him the latest in a series of overdue bills, a tax collection notice from the District of Columbia for $47,226.78.
Hunter would tell the New Yorker’s Adam Entous that he had flown to Miami to meet Chairman Ye purely for charitable purposes, hoping to secure a donation to World Food Program USA, the nonprofit on whose board he served and which he had used before as a cover for his foreign business activities.
Hunter said it was just chance that the altruistic encounter “turned to business opportunities” and claimed to be surprised when Ye gave him the diamond. He didn’t mention the happy coincidence that his business partners Gilliar and Walker were with him in Miami to clinch a business deal with CEFC.
But the diamond was just an appetizer.
Nine days after Hunter’s meeting in Miami with Ye, $3 million is wired into an account for Rob Walker’s company, Robinson Walker LLC, from State Energy HK Limited, a Shanghai-based company linked to CEFC, according to the Chuck Grassley-Ron Johnson inquiry.
On March 1, another $3 million is wired to Robinson Walker by the same company. Both transactions are flagged by the Department of Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement network in a “suspicious activity report,” filed with the Senate committees as “Confidential Document 16.”
Using the document as a source, the Grassley-Johnson report of Nov. 18, 2020, says: “At the time of the transfers, State Energy HK Limited was affiliated with CEFC China Energy, which was under the leadership of Ye Jianming. In the past, State Energy HK Limited transferred funds to at least one company associated with Hunter Biden’s business associate, Gongwen Dong . . .
“These transactions are a direct link between Walker and the communist Chinese government and, because of his close association with Hunter Biden, yet another tie between Hunter Biden’s financial arrange- ments and the communist Chinese government.”
The Senate report concludes it is “unclear what the true purpose is behind these transactions [$6 million from CEFC] and who the ultimate beneficiary is.”
We know from the laptop that Hunter received regular payments from Robinson Walker. One document lists $56,603.74 from Robinson Walker as income for Rosemont Seneca Advisors, between June and December 2017.
Rob Walker paid at least $511,000 to Hunter’s firm Owasco in 2017, according to an email from Hunter’s tax accountant, Bill Morgan.
Walker tells Bobulinski his role in CEFC is “being a surrogate for H [Hunter] or Jim when gauging opportunities, i.e. digging around in Texas on high speed rail with some of my republican friends . . . or hitting new countries and contacts abroad where things are lukewarm, but not hot enough for H to close or too odd for H to be present . . .”
On March 5, 2017, Page Six breaks the news that Hunter and his brother’s widow Hallie are an item.
When Hunter doesn’t show up for a scheduled meeting three days later in New York, Gilliar tells Bobulinski it doesn’t matter: “In brand he’s imperative but right now he’s not essential for adding input to business.”
It is at this point that Gilliar explains to Bobulinski that the Chinese involved in CEFC are “intelligence so they understand the value added” of the Biden name.
Bobulinski remains troubled by Hunter’s scandals, and Gilliar, who is in Australia with Director Zang looking for acquisitions, is worried he might pull out. So, he arranges for him to meet Hunter the following month at the Chateau Marmont, in Bobulinski’s hometown of L.A.
They meet by the hotel pool in April and speak for two hours while Hunter chain-smokes. Bobulinski finds him respectful and polite. Hunter boasts that he has his father’s ear and can bypass his advisers.
Hunter tells Bobulinski how the joint venture vehicle should be structured and expresses caution about US laws, including the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), which prohibits businesses paying bribes to foreign officials. He appears to conflate that law with the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), a 1938 antispying law that requires anyone acting as a lobbyist for a foreign power to register with the US government as a foreign agent.
“No matter what, it will need to be a US company at some level in order for us to make bids on federal and state funded projects,” Hunter writes later.
“Also, we don’t want to have to register as foreign agents under the FCPA which is much more expansive than people who should know choose not to know.
“Regardless we should have a . . . company called CEFC America, and ownership should be 50 me 50 them. We then cut up our 50 [percent] in a separate entity between the 4 of us.”
Hunter seems focused, but Bobulinski is puzzled about Uncle Jim’s frequent meddling in CEFC business.
For instance, in April 2017, Jim pulls strings at New York’s elite Horace Mann School to get Director Zang’s daughter Rouqi fast-tracked for entry, although she ends up enrolling in another school.
Jim also writes a letter on behalf of CEFC to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo requesting a meeting. “We intend to discuss potential projects and investments in New York.” He lists the other attendees as Hunter, Chairman Ye, Director Zang, and an unnamed “Member of the Royal Family of Luxembourg.”
“What is the deal w Jim Biden as he wasn’t part of the discussion but now seems a focal point?” Bobulinski asks Gilliar. “What role does Jim see himself playing?”
“Consultant is what he’s offered as [far as] I know,” Gilliar replies. “He [Hunter] brought in Jim simply to leverage getting more equity for himself and family in the final hour, that is evident.”
In another WhatsApp message, Gilliar tells Bobulinski: “With H [Hunter’s] demons, could be good to have a backup, he [Jim] strengthens our USP [unique selling point] to Chinese as it looks like a truly family business, and I like the dude.”
With the deal progressing, Hunter tells Bobulinski it’s time for the next step.
“I want Dad to meet you,” he says.
Excerpted with permission from “Laptop from Hell: Hunter Biden, Big Tech, and the Dirty Secrets the President Tried to Hide” (Post Hill Press), out Tuesday.
JOE BIDEN JOINS THE DEAL