Another Biden Has Waded Into the Ukraine Crisis

The vice president’s son has taken a new role in the country’s energy industry.

Vice President Joe Biden and sons Hunter Biden (lef) and Beau Biden.
National Journal
Marina Koren
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Marina Koren
May 13, 2014, 9:04 a.m.

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.

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