Joe Biden has been the White House's go-to guy during the Ukraine crisis, touring former Soviet republics and reassuring their concerned leaders. And now, he's not the only Biden involved in the region.
The vice president's youngest son, Hunter Biden, has been appointed head of legal affairs at Burisma Holdings, Ukraine's largest private gas producer, The Moscow Times reported Tuesday. Hunter described his new role in a statement on the company's website:
As a new member of the board, I believe that my assistance in consulting the company on matters of transparency, corporate governance and responsibility, international expansion, and other priorities will contribute to the economy and benefit the people of Ukraine.
The new gig joins several others on Hunter's extensive resume. He currently serves as as managing partner at the Washington-based investment advisory company Rosemont Seneca Partners and counsel at the New York City-based law firm Boies Schiller Flexner. He is also an adjunct professor at Georgetown University's Foreign Service graduate program.
According to Bloomberg Businessweek, Burisma was founded in 2006 and "engages in oil-well drilling, production of liquefied natural gas, and undertaking geological studies." It is based in Cyprus. It owns several oil and gas companies in Ukraine, including in the southeastern city of Dnepropetrovsk.
Burisma hired another American—and another managing partner of Rosemont Seneca Partners—just last month. Devon Archer joined the company's board of directors to "focus on the interaction with current investors, as well as involving new investors from the United States," according to an April 22 press release from the company. Archer served as a senior adviser to John Kerry during his 2004 presidential campaign.
"Today Burisma Holdings reminds me of Exxon Mobil in its wake," Archer said in a recent interview posted on the company's website. "It has all the chances to be one of the biggest privately owned oil companies in the world."
Archer's work focuses heavily on energy independence for Ukraine, a topic that has received much attention in recent months. Ukraine is dependent on Russia for energy exports, and Moscow has pulled discount agreements during its ongoing standoff with Kiev. The addition of Hunter to the company masthead suggests Burisma is turning to U.S. talent—and money and name recognition—for protection against Russia. It also jibes with the Obama administration message that his father has been tasked with spreading.
The vice president's office released a statement Tuesday afternoon saying that the elder Biden "does not endorse any particular company and has no involvement with this company."
It's unclear whether the entry of another Biden into the fray was meant to send a message to Moscow. But Russian President Vladimir Putin, eternally leery of American hands in eastern European business, is bound to notice.
This article appears in the May 13, 2014 edition of NJ Daily.