Sunday, December 3, 2023

Burisma Back in Spotlight After Anti-Corruption Officials Intercept $6M Bribe Attempt

‘Mykola Zlochevsky didn’t ask for anyone to commit wrong actions and never contributed to such actions…’

Ukraine’s Anti-Corruption Prosecutor Nazar Kholodnytsky, left, watches as police officers hold $6 million at a briefing in an anti-corruption prosecutor’s office in Kyiv. / PHOTO: Associated Press

(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) Efforts to block a criminal investigation into Ukrainian energy company Burisma are continuing, months after House Democrats waged such an effort by impeaching President Donald Trump for alleged “abuse of power” in pressing for one.

While the recent health panic, lock-downs and subsequent race riots have made the presidential impeachment—only the third in U.S. history—now seem but a distant memory, many unresolved issues remain.

Ukrainian officials announced on Saturday that they had intercepted $6 billion intended to be used as a bribe to dissuade investigators from digging into the company’s corrupt business dealings, the Washington Examiner reported.

Neither ex-Burisma board member Hunter Biden nor his father, presumptive Democrat presidential nominee Joe Biden, is believed to be implicated in the latest quid-pro-quo attempt, which focuses on Burisma head Mykola Zlochevsky.

The country’s anti-corruption officials said three people, including a tax official, were the focus of the bribery case.

Burisma said in a statement that none of its employees had anything to do with the apparent bribe.

“Neither Burisma Group President Mykola Zlochevsky nor other employees of the company have any relationship to the voiced events,” said the statement. “Mykola Zlochevsky didn’t ask for anyone to commit wrong actions and never contributed to such actions.”

Zlochevsky, who previously served as Ukraine’s minister of ecology from 2010-2012, allegedly used his position to secure favorable opportunities for himself. He also was accused of criminal activities including money laundering and tax evasion.

Biden joined the board in 2014, along with business partner Devon Archer, who had close ties to then-Secretary of State John Kerry. Their company, Rosemont Seneca, is believed to have received at least a million dollars a year for “consulting” services, according to the available financial records, although it is unknown what those services entailed.

Hunter Biden, who had recently been dishonorably discharged from the US Navy after testing positive for cocaine, had no known experience with Eastern Europe or energy policy, although his father was overseeing US–Ukraine relations at the time.

After a previous investigator, Viktor Shokin, raided properties belonging to Zlochevsky in early 2016, records show that Hunter Biden and Devon Archer assisted in ramping up the lobbying efforts to urge US officials to pressure the Petro Poroshenko administration into dropping the probe.

A few weeks later, during a meeting in Kyiv, Joe Biden threatened to withhold a billion-dollar loan if Shokin was not fired—which he was shortly thereafter.

Despite the obvious appearance of impropriety, which at the very least warrants investigation, left-wingers in the US media and elsewhere have insisted that no evidence exists of the Bidens’ misconduct.

However, when Trump asked newly-elected president Volodymyr Zelenskiy to reopen the investigation during a July phone call, deep-state whistleblowers filed a report with then-Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson.

Atkinson then breached protocol by routing it to Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the highly partisan chair of the House Intelligence Committee, who lead the impeachment effort under highly suspicious circumstances.

In February following his Senate trial, Trump was ultimately acquitted on the charges, which did not actually involve a crime. The months that the Ukraine spectacle occupied the nation’s attention—and that of lawmakers in particular—proved costly after it was revealed that the coronavirus may have reached U.S. shores and secretly been spreading as early as November 2019.

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., has announced plans to investigate the US role in Burisma’s corruption via the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, which he chairs.

That likely will include subpoenas for Blue Star, a US-based company that oversaw Burisma’s lobbying efforts with the State Department. GOP senators and conservative watchdogs also have requested documents such as Hunter Biden’s travel records as part of the investigations into his involvement.

He reportedly resigned from the board in April 2019, after it was clear that his involvement could be a liability in his father’s emerging presidential campaign.

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