Burisma, the Ukrainian energy firm that paid Joe Biden’s son to sit on its board, definitely seems shady, as President Trump has suggested. It’s registered in Cyprus and NPR says that while the company describes itself as one of the country’s biggest private natural gas producers, its”offices are ensconced inside a nondescript, five-story business center in a residential neighborhood.”
For five years Hunter Biden, Joe’s son, got paid $50,000 a month to sit on the company’s board, allegedly to promote “transparency.” Trump says Hunter should be investigated for potential corruption stemming from his board tenure and that while vice president Joe Biden tried to block an investigation into the company to protect his son. Hunter Biden certainly was picked by Burisma purely because his father was vice president, but Trump’s claim about Biden trying to shut down the investigation to protect his son appears to be wildly distorted.
Another Burisma board member is Cofer Black, a former CIA official who advised Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign.
And it turns out that one of Trump’s own supporters, Frank Mermoud, is a director of an energy firm that has a joint venture with Burisma.
Mermoud has had a long career in Republican politics. He served at the State Department under George W. Bush and Paul Manafort reportedly picked him to be an advisor to the 2016 Republican National Convention. He’s also well connected in Ukraine, where he served on the board of the US-Ukraine Business Council.
Mermoud is also a director of Cub Energy, a natural gas firm producer operating in Ukraine. Burisma reportedly owns a 70 percent stake in Kub Gas, a joint venture with Burisma, with Cub Energy effectively owning the rest.
But hey, this is just the way foreign business works. Scratch the surface and insiders from both parties are sure to be making money.