The investment firm that Hunter Bidencontinues to hold a 10% stake in has invested in Chinese Communist Party-linked firms the United States has sanctioned, including a technology company accused of assisting in human rights abuses against the Uyghurs and a nuclear company that allegedly conspired to acquire U.S. nuclear technology to benefit China’s military.
The younger Biden still holds a 10% equity stake in Bohai Harvest RST (Shanghai) Equity Investment Fund Management Company, according to Chinese business records, despite pledges from President Joe Biden that his family would not have any foreign business ties and White House press secretary Jen Psaki saying in February that the president’s son “has been working to unwind” his stake in the firm.
BHR, which counts Hunter Biden as a former board member and current significant stakeholder, has made extensive investments in multiple controversial Chinese companies, including Megvii Technology, sanctioned in 2019 for its alleged participation in China’s repression and high-technology surveillance in Xinjiang, and the state-owned China General Nuclear Power Group, blacklisted in 2019 for having allegedly attempted to acquire U.S. nuclear technology for military use in China. The Chinese investment firm also teamed up with the state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China, which was hit with sanctions in 2021 for its role in China’s military-industrial complex. BHR and AVIC purchased Michigan-based Henniges Automotive in 2015.
Hunter Biden has reportedly been under criminal investigation since 2018 as federal authorities scrutinize his taxes and, possibly, his foreign business dealings, and the 51-year-old’s financial transactions with China might be at the forefront. BHR touts the fact that it “benefits from the support of its Chinese stakeholders including the Bank of China and China Development Bank Capital.”
The Financial Timesreported that Megvii was a “leading facial recognition company whose technology was linked to Beijing’s mass surveillance of Uyghurs in Xinjiang” and that “BHR was an investor in Megvii’s Series C funding round in 2017.” Reuters also reported that “Megvii Technology Face++ has recently officially completed a U.S. $460 million Series C financing, led by a Chinese state-owned capital venture capital fund” and other investments including “Bohai Huamei.”
The Commerce Department announced in 2019 that the Bureau of Industry and Security would add “28 Chinese governmental and commercial organizations,” including Megvii, “to the Entity List for engaging in or enabling activities contrary to the foreign policy interests of the United States,” and that “this action constricts the export of items subject to the Export Administration Regulations to entities that have been implicated in human rights violations and abuses in China’s campaign targeting Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities.” The federal agency said that “these entities have all been implicated in the implementation of China’s campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, and high-technology surveillance.”
A report by Internet Protocol Video Market in December contended that “Huawei and Megvii worked together to test and validate Uyghur alarms, according to a Huawei ‘interoperability report’ found by IPVM.” The Washington Postreported that “the system tested how a mix of Megvii’s facial recognition software and Huawei’s cameras, servers, networking equipment, cloud-computing platform and other hardware and software worked.”
Huawei said the report was “simply a test,” while Megvii said “our solutions are not designed or customized to target or label ethnic groups” and “our business is focused on the well-being and safety of individuals, not about monitoring any particular demographic groups.” The Chinese Foreign Ministry called the IPVM report “purely slander.”
In September, the Washington Free Beaconreported that Megvii “doesn’t believe any of the actual capital behind BHR’s investment came directly from Hunter Biden or individuals in the United States” and instead said the investments came from BHR Investment Fund II and BHR Investment Fund VI. But a recent prospectus for Megvii says that those BHR entities are managed by BHR (Cayman) GP, which, according to 2019 company board meeting minutes found on Hunter Biden’s purported laptop and provided to the Washington Examiner by former Steve Bannon War Room podcast co-host Jack Maxey, appears to be listed under a “Summary of BHR Subsidiaries and Managed Funds.” Specifically, this is listed as one of BHR’s “Offshore Indirect Subsidiaries” incorporated in the Cayman Islands.
That same prospectus for Megvii states that, in 2018, the two BHR entities were each listed as having a “shareholding ratio” of 1.15%, or 2.3% combined between the two BHR entities, and figures that appear to be from 2020 list each of the two BHR entities as holding either 0.72% or 0.85%, for a combined total of 1.44% or 1.7% of Megvii’s shares.
The Chinese state-run Global Timessaid in June that Megvii, which it called one of “China’s four AI dragons,” was looking to raise around $926 million. In March, Protocolreported that “Megvii’s annual revenue in 2019 reached 1.26 billion RMB ($193.6 million), quadrupling its 2017 revenue of 300 million RMB ($46.7 million)” and that “last year, during the first three quarters, Megvii’s revenue exceeded 700 million RMB ($110 million).”
China General Nuclear is touted as an investment on BHR’s website. The Wall Street Journalreported that BHR had “a $10 million holding” in CGN “just before an initial public offering.”
The Chinese nuclear company was blacklisted by the U.S. in 2019 after it was “determined by the U.S. Government to be acting contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States” because it has “has engaged in or enabled efforts to acquire advanced U.S. nuclear technology and material for diversion to military uses in China.”
Last summer, the Defense Department released a list of companies operating in the U.S. that the Pentagon believes are tied to the People’s Liberation Army, one of which was China General Nuclear.
Then-President Donald Trump issued an executive order in November related to the Pentagon’s list, stating that “those companies, though remaining ostensibly private and civilian, directly support the PRC’s military, intelligence, and security apparatuses and aid in their development and modernization.” The executive order banned transactions in publicly traded securities, purchases, or sales related to these sanctioned Chinese companies.
The Justice Department unveiled an indictment in 2016 against Allen Ho, Energy Technology International, and China General Nuclear “for conspiracy to unlawfully engage and participate in the production and development of special nuclear material outside the United States.” Ho, a naturalized U.S. citizen who was born in Taiwan, “was also charged with conspiracy to act in the United States as an agent of a foreign government.” The indictment said that Ho, with CGN’s direction, “identified, recruited, and executed contracts with U.S.-based experts from the civil nuclear industry who provided technical assistance related to the development and production of special nuclear material for CGNPC in China.” Prosecutors announced in 2017 that Ho was sentenced to two years in prison after pleading guilty to “conspiracy to unlawfully engage or participate in the production or development of special nuclear material outside the U.S.”
In 2015, BHR also combined forces with AVIC Automotive Systems Holding Company, a subsidiary of the Chinese state-owned AVIC, to purchase Henniges Automotive, an auto company now with offices in the U.S., Europe, and China. AVIC, a CCP-linked aerospace and defense company, builds jets for the Chinese military and was added to a U.S. blacklist in 2021.
A report prepared for the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission in 2009 warned about China’s “defense enterprise groups” and the Chinese government’s pursuit of civilian-military dual-use technologies, with a focus on AVIC’s role, with the report noting that “AVIC develops, manufactures, and markets military and commercial aircraft, as well as engines and airborne weapons.” The report warned about “the overlap between civil and military programs as a commercial endeavor beneath the single umbrella of AVIC” and the “involvement with dual-use applications” of some of AVIC’s subsidiaries.
A review of BHR’s financial documents shows the firm had access to tens or hundreds of millions of dollars for Chinese and global investments and purchases and set up a complicated web of China-based and Cayman Island shell companies and subsidiaries.
BHR and Hunter Biden’s lawyer did not respond to the Washington Examiner’s questions about whether the president’s son would relinquish his holdings in the Chinese firm.