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Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko was ‘core shareholder,’ part of Hunter Biden-led Burisma subsidiary

Add another name to the list of Biden family business associates who met with President Biden during his vice presidency.

Vitali Klitschko, the former heavyweight boxing champion and mayor of Kyiv since 2014, was a “core shareholder” and active participant in a Hunter Biden-chaired subsidiary of Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings, according to emails and an associate with direct knowledge who spoke with The Post.

Klitschko’s little-known links to the first son — including through the subsidiary, Burisma Geothermal — opens a new angle in the impeachment inquiry into alleged Biden family corruption and makes the mayor of Ukraine’s capital, who met with then-Vice President Biden in 2015 while working with his son, a potential witness to key details studied by House investigators.

It also raises volatile new questions for the US-Ukraine relationship as President Biden asks Congress for another $61.4 billion in aid to fend off Russia’s almost two-year-year invasion — despite Republican resistance and demands for enhanced oversight.

Klitschko has had a stormy relationship with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and is considered a possible challenger to him in the country’s next election — adding even greater complexity to a political scandal.

Mayor of Kyiv Vitali Klitschko at an apartment building hit by Russian shelling on Jan. 2, 2024. AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky

LAPTOP, WITNESS: MAYOR, HUNTER WORKED TOGETHER

Documents from Hunter Biden’s abandoned laptop and additional details described to The Post by a former associate indicate Klitschko was involved in establishing Burisma Geothermal in August 2015 — months before he met with Joe Biden during the then-VP’s December 2015 trip to Kyiv.

The elder Biden, in one of many interactions with the mayor, was greeted on the tarmac by Klitschko shortly before the veep aggressively pushed Ukrainian officials to oust prosecutor-general Viktor Shokin, who was investigating Burisma and its owner Mykola Zlochevsky for corruption.

Hunter Biden, who earned an annual salary of up to $1 million from Burisma beginning in April 2014, is believed to have first met Klitschko during a 2012 trip to Moscow, where the then-second son met with a number of prominent post-Soviet businesspeople — setting in motion his later addition to Burisma’s board.

Klitschko was a “core shareholder” and active participant in a Hunter Biden-chaired subsidiary of Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holding, according to emails from Biden’s laptop and an associated. Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Hunter joined Burisma as it navigated the aftermath of a pro-Western uprising led in part by Klitschko that deposed Kremlin-allied President Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014.

As a government minister in the Yanukovych regime, Zlochevsky awarded components of Burisma permits in an alleged self-dealing scheme, allowing his company to at one point be the largest natural gas firm in Ukraine.

Authorities in the UK investigating the corruption froze $23 million in Zlochevsky’s assets from April 2014 through January 2015.

Hunter Biden proposed that Burisma swiftly make alliances with pro-US figures who led the rebellion.

You… should reconnect with Vitaly Klitschko (boxer candidate) who was a central leader of the overthrow of Yanukovych,” Hunter wrote in an April 13, 2014, email to his close business partner Devon Archer, who joined Burisma’s board alongside him that year.

“He more than anyone seems to have real legitimacy across all reformist factions and would be a great source of intel on the legitimacy of our Nick [Zlochevsky] and his operation … He would be someone worth both you and me going to meet.”

Klitschko was a part of creating Burisma Geothermal in August 2015, according to documents from Biden’s laptop. Jack Hill/The Times, The Sunday Times. / MEGA

Hours later, Hunter wrote to Archer, “The best way to weather the storm b[e]tw[een] now an[d the] elections [in May 2014] is to throw all in with the chocolate king,” a reference to confectionary tycoon and future Ukraine president Petro Poroshenko.

“Even if he looses [sic] to [Yulia] Tymoshe[n]ko (unlikely per polls as of today) Poroshenko is a safe ally that could help protect him from the vultures of the moment. Additionally you me and Alex [Kotlarsky] should reconnect with the boxer and help gain his support of our guy,” the younger Biden went on.

In the same month that Hunter Biden was pitching outreach to Klitschko, Joe Biden met the former WBO and WBC heavyweight champ on an official visit to Kyiv — even clutching the ex-boxer’s biceps in admiration, according to a piece published three months later by the New Yorker.

Klitschko rode his growing popularity to became Kyiv mayor in June 2014, while his ally Poroshenko became Ukraine’s president. 

Klitschko visited Washington in April 2015 and received a warm welcome from then-Vice President Biden — who had dined weeks earlier with Burisma board adviser Vadym Pozharskyi, as well as with Hunter’s oligarch associates from Russia and Kazakhstan, at Washington’s Café Milano.

The relationship between Burisma and Klitschko was firmly established by August 2015, according to laptop emails describing the launch that month of Burisma Geothermal, which presented a more environmentally friendly image for the fossil fuels company.

“[V]ery good news, Klitschko confirmed that he would be on Board of our geothermal European project!!!” Pozharskyi wrote on Aug. 10, 2015, to Hunter and Archer.

In 2015 then-Vice President Joe Biden met with Klitschko in Washington, DC shortly after he dined with Burisma board adviser Vadym Pozharskyi (pictured). Serge Illin

The former associate confirmed to The Post that it was Vitali, the Kyiv mayor, who was being referenced — and not his younger brother Wladimir Klitschko, who also is a former professional boxer and prominent public figure in Ukraine.

BURISMA GEOTHERMAL: GREEN ENERGY FRONT

The former business associate told The Post that Klitschko was understood to have joined the board of Burisma Geothermal at roughly the time of Pozharskyi’s email in August 2015, though skimpy corporate registration documents in Cyprus do not indicate that he ever formally did so.

“[Klitschko’s] value was just a big, powerful, and famous man in Ukraine — national hero, actually —  so no reason not to have him on-board,” the former associate told The Post.

“At some point we also were trying to organize a boxing match for him — believe it or not.”

Hunter urged his associates to connect with Klitschko on multiple occasions, according to the source.

In another email, Pozharskyi wrote to Hunter Biden and Archer on Aug. 12, 2014: “[T]oday, I’ve contacted Klitschko[,] and, from today on, we’re starting the process of incorporating a new legal entity Burisma geothermal Europe, which is going to be a subsidiary of Burisma registered in Cyprus.”

“In this new entity, Klitschko will be our partner/core shareholder,” Pozharskyi wrote.

Hunter Biden told his business partner Devon Archer in a 2014 email that he “should reconnect with Vitaly Klitschko.” REUTERS/Nathan Howard

“This new entity ‘Burisma Geothermal Europe’… will become an owner of the geothermal project in Germany and Italy. therefore, here we should consider for you Hunter to become a Chairman of the board/CEO/or any title you consider appropriate.”

Hunter replied that the title of “chairman of board is best” for himself.

Hunter Biden did very little work for either Burisma or the subsidiary he chaired, according to his former associate, who added that it was unclear how Klitschko was compensated.

The source noted that the salary for high-level Burisma executives and board members ranged from roughly $250,000 to up to $1 million.

Emails show Hunter prepared a speech for a September 2015 American Geothermal Association conference on the subsidiary’s behalf and demanded a private jet for the trip to Reno, Nevada.

“[Y]ou should tell Vadim we need a charter from DC and back so that we can all be there for Popes arrival,” Hunter wrote in an Aug. 21, 2015, email to Archer. “[A]s chairman of the most aggressive new geothermal company in the world we should have that flexibility.”

In what was likely its biggest venture, Burisma Geothermal in March 2016 assumed control of a major geothermal project in the Italian province of Tuscany. But the budding subsidiary was legally dissolved later that same year.

Official paperwork on the subsidiary’s operations is scant.

Cyprus-registered Burisma Geothermal was owned by a British Virgin Islands corporation whose owners could not be determined by The Post through publicly accessible business records.

MAYOR DENIES, GOP WANTS ANSWERS

Klitschko issued a blanket denial of involvement in a statement provided by a spokeswoman.

“I am surprised by such questions. Because: I have never been a partner in the project you are talking about and had nothing to do with it,” Klitschko told The Post.

“Accordingly, there is no question of any compensation. I had no ties to Hunter Biden. And I did not discuss the company you are asking about with Joe Biden.”

The mayor’s spokeswoman declined to provide answers to follow-up questions, writing in an email, “The answer I sent before is the most comprehensive one we can provide.”

Klitschko told The Post that he has “never been a partner in the project you are talking about” and that he has no ties to Hunter Biden. ZUMAPRESS.com

But Republicans and other Biden critics say they will push to unearth more information.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), who co-authored a 2020 report by Senate committees on the Biden family’s foreign dealings, told The Post, “The public deserves to know the full extent to which Ukrainian officials were involved in Hunter Biden’s corrupt business dealings.

“It would be completely unacceptable if those who participated in the corrupt financial schemes involving Hunter Biden or the ‘big guy’ are now benefiting from the billions of American taxpayer dollars sent to Ukraine,” Johnson added.

An enduring point of intrigue involves Burisma owner Zlochevsky’s alleged claim to a paid FBI informant in 2016 that he gave Joe and Hunter Biden a total of $10 million in bribes in exchange for the elder Biden’s help in ousting Shokin in early 2016 — which Joe Biden later boasted was done by abruptly threatening to yank $1 billion in US aid, a power play that records indicated surprised fellow American officials.

Burisma founder Mykola Zlochevsky allegedly told an FBI informant that he bribed both Joe and Hunter Biden. NurPhoto via Getty Images

“Clearly, we haven’t reached the bottom of the well,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who released the FBI informant file in July.

“The deeper we look into the Biden family’s foreign business activities, the more we find ties back to President Biden,” he added.

“We know the Biden family was profiting from leveraging his government position, and we know that he met with multiple of Hunter and James’ business partners and associates despite his public claims of not being involved in or even discussing their business activities. We also know that those family members sent money to President Biden and other family members.”

Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.), a member of the House Oversight Committee, one of three panels leading the impeachment inquiry into the president, also called for answers.

“Hunter Biden’s illegal business dealings as an unregistered foreign agent while his father was the vice president of the United States have again proved to reek of corruption and support our efforts to uncover the lengths of the Biden family’s corruption,” said Donalds, who worked in the financial industry before joining Congress.

“Joe Biden boasted about firing the Ukrainian prosecutor responsible for unearthing the corruption stemming from the Biden-linked Burisma,” he said. “It’s becoming clear why he wanted that prosecutor fired. We must get to the bottom of this.” 

Then-Vice President Biden pushed Ukraine to oust prosecutor-general Viktor Shokin. Photo by Sergii Kharchenko/NurPhoto via Getty Images

DETAILS REMAIN MURKY

Former White House stenographer Mike McCormick, who accompanied Vice President Biden on his December 2015 mission to Ukraine, said it was intriguing that Klitschko was in business with Hunter Biden.

McCormick noted that Archer testified to the Oversight Committee in July that Hunter Biden, Zlochevsky and Pozharskyi stepped away from a corporate gathering in Dubai to “call DC,” which Archer understood to mean Joe Biden, on or around Dec. 4, 2015 — three days before Klitschko greeted the VP in Kyiv.

Klitschko “was sought after by Hunter for his father’s Burisma kickback scheme almost from the start because he had, as Hunter wrote in an April [2014] email, ‘real legitimacy across all reformist factions’,” said McCormick, who drew attention to the mayor’s Burisma links in his new book “The Case to Impeach and Imprison Joe Biden,” which notes the close timing between Klitschko meeting Biden in Kyiv in December 2015 and Biden’s subsequent push to oust Shokin.

On the trip, Biden clipped a video of himself declaring that Ukraine faced “two great threats, Russian aggression and endemic corruption — and we’re prepared to help them tackle both.”

Biden later boasted that he had pressured officials to remove Shokin during the same trip — though Biden’s claim of swift termination doesn’t actually fit the timeline of Shokin’s ouster, which occurred in March of 2016.

“I looked at them and said, ‘I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money,’” Biden told an audience at the Council on Foreign Relations, referring to a $1 billion loan guarantee, in 2018. 

“Well, son of a bitch. He got fired,” the future president added, to laughter from the audience.

On Feb. 2, 2016, not even three months after Biden’s visit, Shokin’s office won a Ukrainian court order to seize Zlochevsky’s property, the Kyiv Post reported at the time.

Shokin reportedly submitted a resignation letter on Feb. 16 at Klitschko ally Poroshenko’s request, but stayed in his position until he was formally removed on March 29 by a majority vote in Ukraine’s parliament, purportedly due to his own corruption.

The elder Biden spoke on the phone four times in February and March 2016 with Poroshenko and once more with then-Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk as he pushed for Shokin’s removal.

Businesspeople who have done work in Ukraine and Russia say that it’s not unusual for public officials to take bribes or have unethical relationships with major corporations, though proving such links is difficult.

“Unfortunately, due to gaps in Ukrainian law and flawed procedures, international corruption in Ukraine remains largely concealed,” said anti-corruption expert Olha Chernovol, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Ottawa.

“As a result, corruption involving high-ranking Ukrainian officials and foreign individuals/companies is frequently regarded as ‘legitimate,’ making it challenging to substantiate any kind of corrupt behavior.”

Chernovol said that Ukraine has recently taken steps to rein in corruption, and that more questions need to be answered about Klitschko’s role in Burisma’s operations before declaring him tainted.

“It is essential to approach any situation involving a complex web of interactions and allegations of corruption with a critical eye before jumping to conclusions,” Chernovol said.

“It should be noted that there is no direct proof of Klitschko’s involvement in Burisma Holdings’ corruption, and hence, it is premature to claim his involvement in the company’s wrongdoing.”

The White House and Hunter Biden’s legal team did not respond to requests for comment.

While vice president, Joe Biden met with foreign associates linked with Hunter Biden and his uncle James Biden, the president’s younger brother, in multimillion-dollar relationships that Republicans say had no obvious business purpose.

There’s documentation that Joe Biden met with his family’s associates from two Chinese-government linked ventures and others from Kazakhstan, Mexico and Russia.

Archer told the Oversight Committee in July that Joe Biden also was on speaker phone with his son’s foreign partners during roughly 20 separate meetings.

The mounting evidence of Biden interacting with his relatives’ partners directly contradicts his claims that he “never” discussed business with his son or brother and his insistence last month that he “did not” interact with any of their foreign associates.

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Written by SaleemBaloch

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