Conflict of interest? Hunter Biden, son of Vice President, joins Ukrainian gas company


WASHINGTON, May 13, 2014 — In a move likely to raise eyebrows across the globe, Ukraine’s largest private gas producer announced today that the son of U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden is joining its board of directors.

According to Burisma Holdings, R. Hunter Biden will oversee the company’s legal unit and “will provide support for the Company among international organizations.”

The company goes on to tout Mr. Biden’s credentials, saying:

R. Hunter Biden is a counsel to Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP, a national law firm based in New York, USA, which served in cases including “Bush vs. Gore”, and “U.S. vs. Microsoft”. He is one of the co-founders and a managing partner of the investment advisory company Rosemont Seneca Partners, as well as chairman of the board of Rosemont Seneca Advisors. He is an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University’s Masters Program in the School of Foreign Service.

Mr. Biden has experience in public service and foreign policy. He is a director for the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, The Center for National Policy, and the Chairman’s Advisory Board for the National Democratic Institute. Having served as a Senior Vice President at MBNA bank, former U.S. President Bill Clinton appointed him an Executive Director of E-Commerce Policy Coordination under Secretary of Commerce William Daley. Mr. Biden served as Honorary Co-Chair of the 2008 Obama-Biden Inaugural Committee.

Mr. Biden is a member of the bar in the State of Connecticut, and the District of Columbia, the U.S. Supreme Court, and the Court of Federal Claims. He received a Bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University, and a J.D. from Yale Law School.

R. Hunter Biden is also a well-known public figure. He is chairman of the Board of the World Food Programme U.S.A., together with the world’s largest humanitarian organization, theUnited Nations World Food Programme. In this capacity he offers assistance to the poor in developing countries, fighting hunger and poverty, and helping to provide food and education to 300 million malnourished children around the world.

Burisma is a holding company that owns several Ukrainian oil and gas companies as well as assets in the Dnepr-Donetsk, the Carpathian and the Azov-Kuvan basins. The company produced 11,600 barrels of oil equivalent in 2013, according to a member of the board, and plans to increase its production by approximately 35 percent this year.

Since the Ukraine crisis, the United States and its allies have pushed Ukraine to reduce its dependency on Russia for oil, and has pledged to assist the country in not only expanding its options for suppliers but also to develop domestic production.

In late April, Vice President Biden visited Ukraine, the highest U.S. official to visit the country since the crisis with Russia erupted. During the trip, Biden announced a U.S. aid package for Ukraine, focused on energy and the economy.

Part of the assistance included efforts to obtain new supplies from non-Russian suppliers.

A second part of the assistance included technical education to increase production from Ukrainian natural gas fields and technical assistance in the extraction of unconventional gas sources.

Burisma Holdings is likely to benefit from U.S. efforts to boost domestic Ukrainian gas production. A member of the Board of Directors with access to the highest levels of U.S. government is likely to further improve its position.

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