Hunter Biden often used his father, then-Vice President Joe Biden, as “the brand” to secure foreign business ventures, Devon Archer told members of the House Oversight Committee during a closed-door interview Monday.
Archer is a former business partner of Hunter Biden.
According to Archer’s transcribed interview, released Thursday by committee Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., Hunter Biden not only used his father’s name to add value, but the then-vice president either joined his son and his business associates for dinner or over the phone more than 20 times to sell that brand while sending a signal about their access, power, and influence.
Hunter Biden “would not be so overt” or “overtly” say that he’d invoke his father’s “very powerful name” during business dealings, Archer said, but still, the president’s son would use the famous name to get “defensive leverage that the value is there in his work.”
“The theoretical was corporate governance, but, obviously, given the brand, that was a large part of the value,” Archer said. “I don’t think it was the sole value, but I do think that was a key component of the value.”
Archer also said he and Hunter Biden would inform business interests that they had a “unique understanding” of Washington, D.C., and how it operates and how far that could “positively reflect on the terms of our business.”
Archer served on the board of Ukrainian natural gas firm Burisma Holdings with Hunter Biden, beginning in 2014, receiving $83,000 a month for his work. Archer told investigators that Hunter Biden often used his father’s “brand” to open doors for the company.
“My only thought is that I think Burisma would have gone out of business if it didn’t have the brand attached to it,” Archer said, adding that he believes Burisma was able to survive as long as it did because of the Biden “brand,” as “people would be intimidated to mess with them.”
Archer further testified that then-Vice President Biden, despite his denials that he had any knowledge of his son’s business deals, often attended dinners with foreign associates, including a Burisma Holdings executive.
One dinner, Archer recalled, took place in the spring of 2014 at Cafe Milano in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Attendees included Joe Biden, Hunter Biden, Archer, and another business partner, Eric Schwerin, as well as other business partners and Yelena Baturina, who was married to the mayor of Moscow.
The dinner party occurred weeks after Baturina wired $3.5 million to Rosemont Seneca Thornton, an LLC founded by Hunter Biden, Archer, and other associates.
Archer also mentioned another dinner, also at Cafe Milano, that was attended by Burisma executive Vadym Pozharskyi.
Archer also said he and Hunter Biden attended a Burisma board of directors meeting on Dec. 4, 2015, in Dubai. It was at that meeting, Archer said, that Burisma CEO Mykola Zlochevsky and Pozharskyi asked Hunter to call “D.C.” and address pressure issues the energy company was facing.
The issue involved 23 million British pounds, or over $29 million in U.S. dollars, of “capital tied up in London,” and a probe of the firm by Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin.
“They requested Hunter help them with some of that pressure,” Archer said. “You know, government pressure from Ukrainian government investigations into Mykola.”
Two weeks before the meeting in Dubai, according to previous reports, Pozharskyi emailed Hunter Biden, stressing that he was on the board to present “any cases/pursuits against Nikolay in Ukraine.” He was referring to Zlochevsky, who also went by Nikolay.
Archer said Burisma asked Hunter for help because he carried a “very powerful name” and “that’s what they were asking for.”
However, he said he was left out of “black box D.C. types of conversations.”
It was five days after the call that Vice President Biden arrived in Ukraine, where he made a statement that “the Office of the General Prosecutor desperately needs reform.”
Archer also answered questions about the FBI FD-123 form containing allegations that Joe Biden and Hunter Biden had coerced a $10 million payment from Ziochevsky in exchange for having Shokin fired.
However, Archer testified that he wasn’t aware that Zlochevsky had made payments of $5 million each to the Bidens, adding that the Burisma official may have been exaggerating to give “the impression of access.”
The White House released a statement about Archer’s testimony, saying that “he testified that he never heard of President Biden discussing business with his son or his son’s associates, or doing anything wrong.”
Archer is facing one year and a day in prison for defrauding a Native American tribal entity of $60 million in connection with the issuance and sale of bonds from the group. Hunter Biden reportedly was not involved in the matter.
Two days before Archer’s testimony on Monday, the Justice Department filed a letter pushing for a judge to set a date for Archer’s sentence to begin, leading Comer to accuse the DOJ of obstruction of justice.
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