News & Politics

As Biden and Kerry Went Soft on China, Sons Made Nuclear, Military Business Deals with Chinese Gov't

From right to left, Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry and Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, Friday, Sept. 25, 2015, on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

In 2013 and 2014, China embarked on an aggressive air and island campaign to dominate the South China Sea, much to the dismay of Japan and other countries in the region. When Vice President Joe Biden visited the country in 2013, he emphasized trade between the U.S. and China and did not focus on the South China Sea. Secretary of State John Kerry did the same in 2014.

Meanwhile, Biden’s son Hunter and Kerry’s stepson Chris Heinz carried out massive business deals with Chinese officials and the state-owned Bank of China. Worse, Hunter Biden and Chris Heinz even invested in a Chinese nuclear company under FBI investigation.

“During a critical eighteen-month period of diplomatic negotiations between Washington and Beijing, the Biden and Kerry families and friends pocketed major cash from companies connected to the Chinese government,” Peter Schweizer writes in his new book “Secret Empires: How the American Political Class Hides Corruption and Enriches Family and Friends.”

Schweizer’s book delves into the ways in which “American Princelings” profit at home and abroad from the economic and diplomatic policies of high-ranking U.S. officials. With former Vice President Biden rumored to be considering a 2020 presidential run, the scandals surrounding how his diplomatic efforts enriched his son take on renewed importance. His role in abetting China’s aggression for family gain seems particularly damning.

When Biden became the vice president in 2009, his son Hunter Biden “became a social fixture in Washington,” Schweizer explains. In the summer of 2009, the VP’s son joined forces with Chris Heinz, a wealthy heir to the late Senator John Heinz, whose wife Teresa married Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.). The two formed Rosemont Capital, an alternative investment firm  “positioned to strike profitable deals overseas with foreign governments and officials with whom the U.S. government was negotiating.”

Devon Archer, Chris Heinz’s roommate at Yale and star fundraiser for John Kerry’s 2004 presidential run, joined the American Princelings at Rosemont. Federal agents would later arrest Archer in May 2016 for defrauding a Native American tribe in an effort to enrich a branch of Rosemont Capital, Rosemont Seneca Bohai.

The American Princelings set up Rosemont Capital as an alternative investment fund of the Heinz Family Office, and attached several branches to it, including Rosemont Seneca Partners and Rosemont Realty.

When Vice President Biden went to China in December 2013 amid the South China Sea aggression, his son Hunter went with him. Hunter Biden was negotiating a major deal between Rosemont Seneca and the state-owned Bank of China. As the vice president discussed China’s trade with the United States, his son was putting these economic ties into practice, and the U.S. effectively caved in the conflict over the South China Sea.

Ten days after the Bidens visited China, the Bank of China — which is embedded in a complex network involving state ministries, security forces, and the Communist Party, and which provides capital for China’s economic statecraft — created an investment fund with Rosemont Seneca called Bohai Harvest RST (BHR). “In short, the Chinese government was literally funding a business that it co-owned along with the sons of two of America’s most powerful decision makers,” Schweizer explains.

Rosemont Seneca received a benefit no other Western firm had in China — “a private equity cross-border investment fund formed in the Chinese government’s Shanghai Free-Trade Zone.” With this privilege, Rosemont Seneca could take Chinese government funds and invest them in China or outside the country, even in the U.S.

As the vice president caved on the South China Sea and as his son benefitted from this lucrative deal, China ramped up its aggression, forming islands and transforming these artificial islands into military bases with airfields, runways, ports, and antiaircraft systems.

In July 2014, Secretary of State John Kerry visited China. While the Chinese government had disliked Hillary Clinton’s “unipolar voice,” they found Kerry a much more willing ally. When President Xi Jinping called for a commitment to “boost Sino-US economic ties,” Kerry echoed this call. “China and the United States represent the greatest economic alliance trading partnership in the history of humankind,” he said.

Meanwhile, a former subsidiary of the Chinese government, Gemini Investments, aimed to purchase Rosemont Realty, another branch of the Rosemont Capital tree run by Hunter Biden, Chris Heinz, and Devon Archer.

Rosemont Realty had put the mayor of Santa Fe on the payroll, and purchased New Mexico’s largest commercial real estate company, BGK. After acquiring “trophy buildings,” the company prepared to be purchased by Gemini Investments.

Gemini Investments is considered an “indirect subsidy” of the Chinese government, and it is operated by its parent company, Sino-Ocean Land. Gemini Investments’ director, Li Ming, served for several terms as a member of the Communist Party’s elite conference, and Sino-Ocean Land originated from the China Ocean Shipping Company (COSCO). The two companies still share the same address.

The Chinese call COSCO the fifth arm of the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN). According to leaked State Department cables, COSCO was reportedly shipping material for Syria’s weapons development program, probably from North Korea.

Gemini did not stop with Rosemont Realty, however. By December 2014, the Chinese company bought out the Rosemont Opportunities Fund II for $34 million.

In May 2015, Kerry visited China again, and insisted that “the two powers shouldn’t let the South China Sea issue get in the way of broader cooperation.” In August, Rosemont Realty announced that Gemini Investments, run from the COSCO headquarters, was buying a 75 percent stake in the company, including a $3 billion commitment from the Chinese.

The fact that American Princelings profited as Joe Biden and John Kerry refused to hold China accountable for its aggressive actions in the South China Sea is bad enough, but the Rosemont-China axis also extended into enabling China’s theft of military intellectual property from the United States.

The massive Bohai Harvest RST (BHR) teamed up with Chinese state-owned military aviation contractor Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) to buy American “dual-use” part manufacturer Henniges in 2015. AVIC operates under direct control of the State Council and produces military technology “primarily designed to compete with the United States.”

The year before BHR teamed up with AVIC, the aviation company had stolen technologies related to the U.S. F-35 stealth fighter.

In September 2015, AVIC bought 51 percent of Henniges, while the Biden-and-Kerry-linked BHR purchased 49 percent. Henniges developed anti-vibration technologies for cars, but the technologies are considered “dual use” because they also have a military application.

The technology is on the restricted Commerce Control List, and the Henniges deal — like the notorious Uranium One deal in 2010 — would require the approval of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). Kerry’s State Department approved the deal in 2015.

In 2014, BHR became an “anchor investor” in China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGNPC or CGN), a state-owned nuclear company that was previously wholly owned by the Chinese government. CGN was under FBI investigation at the time, and eventually charged with stealing U.S. nuclear secrets.

In November 2013, Chinese-American engineer Ching Ning Guey was paid by the Chinese government for sensitive information on American nuclear technology he acquired while working on nuclear reactors with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). In April 2016, he was charged with stealing nuclear secrets that could cause “significant damage to our national security.”

Schweizer notes that “Chinese companies have a long history of stealing American nuclear secrets. … This time, of course, family members of America’s most powerful political figures had exclusive financial interests in the rogue Chinese company stealing American secrets.”

Chillingly, Schweizer adds that even after guilty pleas in the case, “Rosemont did not change its relationship with its Chinese partners, nor did BHR divest from the state-owned Chinese company that had been stealing America’s nuclear secrets.”

Finally, the Biden-and-Kerry-connected BHR made another investment with a Chinese state-owned company in 2016. The company China Molybdenum aims to acquire molybdenum and other rare-earth minerals that have a military and nuclear application. The company also has deep ties to the Chinese government and the Chinese Communist Party.

In 2012, the Obama-Biden administration filed a complaint against China with the World Trade Organization, charging Beijing with attempting to control the world rare-earth minerals market. The WTO ruled against China in March 2014.

Two years later, in May 2016, China Molybdenum announced it was buying more than half of the Tenke Fungurume copper mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo for $2.6 billion. A few months later, BHR announced it would buy another 24 percent stake in the mine for $1.5 billion. China Molybdenum helped the Biden-and-Kerry-connected BHR to make this purchase.

“So while the Obama administration was laying out the challenge posed by China in the global minerals race, the son of the vice president and a confidant of the secretary of state where invested in deals that would help Beijing win that resource race,” Schweizer concludes.

Schweizer says that neither John Kerry nor Joe Biden, nor Hunter Biden nor Chris Heinz, responded to multiple requests for comment.

If Schweizer’s reporting is correct, Hunter Biden and Chris Heinz became immensely rich even as their respective father and step-father enabled China’s aggressive actions in the South China Sea, in espionage against America’s nuclear technology, and in the global minerals trade.

This scandal echoes the Uranium One scandal, in which Hillary Clinton’s CFIUS approved a massive deal allowing a Russian company to purchase U.S. uranium while the players in the deal paid former president Bill Clinton hundreds of thousands in speaking fees. Schweizer broke that story, and that corruption led to an FBI investigation.

Will the FBI investigate Hunter Biden as his father mulls a 2020 presidential run? Schweizer presents a compelling case that Biden corruption rivals one of Hillary Clinton’s most notorious scandals.