Ukrainian businessman Hares Youssef has alleged he was promised a US visa in return for information that would damage Joe Biden’s presidential campaign.
Speaking on the Stories of our Times podcast, Youssef alleged he was asked to lie about Hunter Biden’s business dealings to damage the reputation of Joe Biden. In return he was promised a US visa and legal immunity.
Youssef has alleged that he was asked to invent links between Hunter Biden and a business deal with one of his former associates that had gone wrong.
“The deal was to lie,” Youssef said on the podcast. “I had never even met him. But the hunting dogs were out for Hunter Biden.”
According to The Times Youssef invested just under $3 million in a tech start-up fund called mbloom, which was backed by Devon Archer, Hunter Biden’s former business partner.
The details of mbloom’s investments were obscure. Youssef claimed he believed his investment would be used to create a gold-backed virtual currency named Golden Hearts. The managers of mbloom, however, used the fund to invest in their own start-ups.
Youssef lost the bulk of his investment when the fund was shut down in 2016 after Archer was accused of fraud in a separate and unrelated case.
Hunter, the youngest son of President-elect Biden, had allegedly previously been on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian gas company, with Archer and had become involved in his investment firm, Rosemont Seneca Technology Partners, one of the main funders behind mbloom.
Hunter had ceased any association with the company before Youssef made his investment in mbloom.
But according to The Times, last year Youssef briefly courted journalists with a story about Hunter’s links to the now-defunct mbloom fund and claimed that he had promised businessmen access to his father in 2015, when Joe Biden was vice-president under Barack Obama. Youssef had no evidence at the time to support his assertions and now he has admitted that it was all untrue.
Youssef has alleged a member of Kremlin-linked Ukrainian oligarch Dmytro Firtash’s team approached him, saying: “We can solve this relationship with America if you can help us.”
Firtash is fighting extradition to the US on racketeering and money-laundering charges that he denies. He lives next door to Youssef in Vienna.
Yousself has alleged Firtash’s team asked him to create a story about Hunter Biden being linked mbloom so Firtash’s extradition order could be rescinded – if he could find enough evidence against Hunter Biden.
Youssef said Firtash was not involved in the approach and there is no suggestion that he was aware of the actions alleged to have been taken by his team.
Firtash has always denied any involvement in the smear campaign directed at the Bidens.
Links with impeachment
The allegations raise fresh questions about a story that has dogged the Trump administration, leading to a Senate inquiry and the impeachment of Trump in January 2020.
Accused of an abuse of power and soliciting foreign interference in the American election, Trump was alleged to have halted military aid to Ukraine until President Zelensky would agree to start an official investigation into the Bidens.
The outgoing president was acquitted in early February during his trial in the Senate, where Republicans outnumber their Democratic rivals. Now, with a Biden administration in sight, and having been made aware of the new evidence gathered by the Times investigation, Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, one of the main witnesses in the hearings, believes another legal investigation is needed.
The Trump campaign and Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani declined to comment.