Jean-Pierre won’t say why Hunter Biden-linked Russian oligarchs aren’t sanctioned
WASHINGTON – President Biden’s top spokesman declined to comment Monday on why two Russian billionaires linked to first son Hunter Biden have avoided U.S. sanctions over the year-old conflict in Ukraine.
The Post last week sought clarification from press secretary Karin Jean-Pierre after reporting fresh details about ties between the Biden family and oligarchs Vladimir Yevtushenkov and Yelena Baturina.
“Could [you] Share the reason why President Biden did not endorse Russian billionaires Vladimir Yevtushenkov and Yelena Baturina? Post asked Jean-Pierre at his regular briefing.
“How is he dealing with a conflict of interest there because his son was a business associate of these two people? And can you confirm that, as the current vice president, he dined with Baturina in Georgetown?”
“I’m not talking about anything related to his son from here,” Jean-Pierre said: “If you want to ask a question specifically about Hunter Biden, I’ll ask you Will send to his family. And as it relates to any sanctions, I’m not talking about individual Russians. “
According to Hunter Biden’s abandoned laptop and communications from witnesses who spoke to The Post, Yevtushenkov and Baturina partnered with Hunter Biden while Joe Biden was vice president, researching U.S. real estate investments.
Yevtushenkov reportedly expressed interest in introducing the powerful political family to a mutual “benevolence” and Baturina reportedly met in 2015 with a group including then-Vice President Joe Biden and other Hunter Biden associates from Ukraine and Kazakhstan. dined with
“I think it’s very bad,” a source with first-hand knowledge of the relationship between Hunter Biden and Yevtushenkov told The Post. It is worth 1.7 billion dollarsUK and approved by Australia but not by the US.
“I think he should be approved,” Michael McFaul, a former U.S. ambassador to Russia under President Barack Obama, told The Post last week. “I don’t understand why he didn’t stay.”
Yevtushenkov, whose Sistema business empire most recently included Russian rocket and radar-maker RTI and drone maker Kronstadt, admitted he met Hunter Biden for breakfast at the Ritz-Carlton in Manhattan on March 14, 2012 last year – But denied any further contact. .
However, emails and calendar entries from Hunter’s former laptop show they met again for dinner at Cafe Milano in D.C. on January 27, 2013, before visiting a commercial real estate development near Dulles International Airport in Northern Virginia the next day. were ready to meet
“I asked [Yevtushenkov], ‘Why are you doing this?’ On the front end — before I realized they were going to buy some real estate,” a source told the Post. “’Why are you doing this? Why would you pay to meet the vice president’s son in a public restaurant in New York City?’
“He made it very clear to me that, you know … ‘I think it would be good to have a good relationship with this guy … maybe he could do us a favor and we could do him a favor. Can do a favor,'” the source continued. “It was completely pro-quo that he was going for.”
“I told him that’s not the way things work in America, [but] He actually laughed at me and told me I was very naive,” the source recalled of Yevtushenkov, whose holdings include Russia’s largest cellphone provider, MTS, which gave authorities in Uzbekistan nearly Faced with a long-running US investigation into $1 billion in bribes between 2004 and 2012.
MTS, which was listed on the New York Stock Exchange before suspending trading in its shares in July 2022, eventually settled the case with Trump’s Justice Department in 2019 and agreed to make a payment. $850 million fine.
A separate source told The Post last week that she vividly recalled Baturina and her husband, former Moscow mayor Yuriy Luzhkov, spending the night with Hunter and her father, then vice president, on April 16, 2015. looked “like an odd couple” at the meal. More than a year after the president allegedly wired $3.5 million to a corporate entity belonging to the then second son.
It was previously uncertain whether Baturina is worth the price estimated by Forbes $1.4 billionAnd Luzhkov actually attended dinner at Cafe Milano — the same Georgetown restaurant where Hunter and Yevtushenkov set up a date two years ago.
“They could play themselves on ‘Saturday Night Live,'” said the source, who attended the dinner and was able to identify the couple because he met Luzhkov — who died in 2019 — several times. On other occasions. (Another source previously told The Post that a couple matching the general appearance of Baturina and Luzhkov was there.)
Luzhkov, who was mayor of Moscow for 18 years until 2010, “looked much older” than Baturina – 27 years her husband’s junior – who “went overboard” on her looks and an insecure heir to actress Jennifer Coolidge’s HBO was like a comedic portrayal of “White Lotus,” the source recalled.
“It was a strange dinner because there was [then-Kazakhstani Prime Minister Karim] Massimov, Luzhkov and his wife, and it wasn’t a big table and then there was someone making a pitch for support from a food charity,” he added. “I mean, it was, it was — it was a little weird, the whole thing.”
In an email at the time, Hunter wrote that the meal would be “apparently” about his role as chairman of the World Food Program (WFP) USA.
His father, the current vice president, arrived at the dinner and stayed about 40 minutes, during which he sat down to eat and posed for photos with the Kazakh group, the second source recalled.
The gathering also included Vadim Pozharsky, an executive at Ukrainian energy company Burisma, who paid Hunter up to $1 million a year in 2014 while his VP father controlled the Obama administration’s Ukraine policy. Pozharski emailed Hunter the next day to thank him for “giving me the opportunity to meet your father” — creating the basis for The Post’s earlier October 2020 bombshell from Hunter Biden’s laptop.
Republican members of Congress say there is a conflict of interest in President Biden’s decision on sanctions, which his administration has described as a top mechanism to end the Ukraine war by crippling Russia’s economy.
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) told The Post last week: “It is clear that Hunter Biden’s questionable business dealings with individuals in Russia and China have compromised President Biden and continue to raise conflict of interest concerns.” is.”
“It is very alarming that Russian nationals associated with Biden are evading sanctions. If this happened under a Republican White House, the mainstream media would be up in arms,” said Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.).
House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), whose panel is leading the Biden family’s foreign-influence investigation, said, “It is alarming that Hunter Biden’s Russian oligarch friends are missing from the Treasury Department’s public sanctions list. . Russian aristocracy and aristocracy.”