News, Culture & Society

British journalists present a new investigation into the case of Burisma and Joe Biden

By Lisa Smith

British journalists presented the documentary A LOT OF HOT AIR. Who’s telling the truth in the Burisma gas scandal?, covering the Ukrainian gas company Burisma, whose supervisory board from 2014 to 2019 included the son of US President Hunter Biden. The presentation took place on June 2 at the Press Club Brussels Europe.

The film shows that Burisma was managed by Mykola Zlochevsky, former Minister of Ecology of Ukraine under the presidency of fugitive Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

Ukrainian investigators suspect Zlochevsky of withdrawing tens of millions of dollars from Ukraine. At least 11 criminal cases are open against him.

The documentary attempts to uncover the roles which the son of the current US President Joe Biden Hunter and former Polish President Aleksandr Kwasniewski played in the company.

Representatives of the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office believe that Mykola Zlochevsky needed Hunter Biden to avoid financial sanctions, which were imposed on most Yanukovych-era officials.

Journalist Tim White says that the role of Hunter Biden most likely was to improve Burisma respectability. At the same time, it is not clear why he agreed to it, taking into account the company’s unclear management and the criminal case against the owner Mykola Zlochevsky, who is suspected of public funds embezzlement.

“I don’t think Biden directly controls Ukraine. Any President of the U.S., or leader of any big country, has an influence on smaller friendly nations. But Ukraine should finally bring the Burisma case to an end. If not it will continue to fester, and if there was any wrongdoing the perpetrators will evade justice. Who knows maybe Ukraine will even recover some of the money Derkach says was stolen from the state.”

Talking about Ukraine, the journalist noted that the team of fugitive President Viktor Yanukovych pursued a policy of total corruption.

“Perhaps Poroshenko (President of Ukraine after the Revolution of Dignity in 2014 – ed.) was also engaged in corruption, but there’s been no proof of that yet. In general, the rule of Yanukovych (Mykola Zlochevsky was a member of Yanukovych’s government – ed.), the revolution and the subsequent annexation of Crimea and the war in Donbas led to massive financial problems for the state, rampant inflation for a while and inevitably this caused the value of the hryvnia to fall and Ukrainians experienced a decline in living standards,” adds Tim White.

In early April, the son of US President Hunter Biden presented his memoirs. In the book, he talks about his work at Burisma, as well as the fact that he had long been addicted to illegal substances.

Mr White answered numerous questions during the press conference, including these:

What role did the son of US President, Hunter Biden, and the former Polish President, Aleksander Kwaśniewski, play in Burisma? Who brought them together with Mykola Zlochevsky, the former Ukrainian government minister suspected of corruption?

Considering the investigation, do you think that the Burisma case could have been one of the reasons why former President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko’s electoral rating dropped so significantly that two years ago, 73% of Ukrainians made their choice in favor of Volodymyr Zelensky?

The documents and witness statements that you refer to in your film make it clear that Joe Biden, as the Vice President of the United States, had a great influence on Ukraine and used “telephone law” to ensure the adoption of decisions he wanted –  in particular, regarding the dismissal of the former Prosecutor General of Ukraine Viktor Shokin, who was in charge of the Burisma case. Is there any evidence that the new Ukrainian government can resume the Burisma case? Does the Joe Biden administration continue to have significant influence over the Ukrainian government?

During the presidency of Petro Poroshenko, the standard of living in Ukraine dropped significantly. In particular, at the beginning of his term in 2014, the exchange rate of the hryvnia to the dollar was about 11.5 UAH/USD, while at the end of his tenure as the head of the Ukrainian state, the exchange rate had risen to 27 UAH per dollar.

In addition, Poroshenko’s government had consistently followed instructions from the IMF and the United States to raise tariffs, raise the retirement age, among others. Don’t you think that one of the reasons for the decline in living standards in Ukraine may be due to the withdrawal of funds from this country, which took place through Burisma as well?