Text correspondence allegedly between two associates of US President-elect Joe Biden's son, Hunter, has revealed attempts to "get Joe involved" in a deal with Chinese energy company CEFC in order to make it look "like a truly family business" in the eyes of the Chinese, Fox News reported on Thursday, citing obtained text exchanges between Hunter Biden's now-former-business partners James Gilliar and Tony Bobulinski.
The apparent WhatsApp conversation was said to date back to 2017, amid attempts to start a joint venture, called Sinohawk Holdings, including by Hunter and Jim Biden and their associates, Gilliar, Bobulinski, and Rob Walker, in partnership with Chinese energy firm CEFC.
In one of the messages, Gilliar and Bobulinski discussed a plan to offer Hunter and the Biden family "high stakes" in the new venture in exchange for convincing the now-president-elect to get involved in the deal.
"Man U are right let's get the company set up, then tell H and family the high stakes and get Joe involved", Gilliar wrote to Bobulinski in a message dated 11 May 2017, according to a news network.
An earlier text exchange from 30 April 2017 reveals that the two wanted the venture to look like a Biden family business by getting Hunter's dad involved in order to "have a back up", strengthen their "USP ['unique selling proposition' or 'unique selling point'] to [the] Chinese", according to Fox.
They also wanted to have a "top person at the same level" as the CEFC chairman, who was about to visit the US on 7 May 2017 to discuss the potential deal, arguing that it was "the way it works culturally" for the Chinese.
"Think Joe may come Sunday. I'm hoping", Gilliar said in a message to Bobulinski, who replied saying, "Yah I told Jim [Biden] that's a no brainer if he can make it he should be there".
However, a source confirmed to Fox News that Joe Biden did not show up at the meeting.
Part of the purported chat revealed Gilliar's and Bobulinski's thoughts about Hunter getting his brother Jim Biden involved in the deal.
"He brought in Jim simply to leverage getting more equity for himself and family in the final hour, that is evident", Bobulinski stated. "I know why the [sic] wants the deal and what makes it enormous, it's the family name in reality, they could have asked for 51 percent, maybe u would not be interested but many US moguls would have been".
In one of the texts, Gilliar warned his pal not to "mention Joe being involved, it's only when u are face to face, I know u know that but they are paranoid".
In October 2020, Gilliar told The Wall Street Journal that Joe Biden was not involved in any way with "the 2017 discussions about our potential business structure".
"I am unaware of any involvement at any time of the former vice president", Gilliar told the publication.
On 9 December, President-elect Biden's son, Hunter, said he had learned that the US Attorney's Office in Delaware would investigate his tax affairs. According to CNN, investigators are probing multiple financial issues, including whether Hunter Biden violated any tax and money laundering laws in his overseas business deals, principally in China.
A Fox News report later said that Hunter Biden had requested a $10 million wire to "properly fund and operate" the joint venture SinoHawk from CEFC chairman Ye Jianming. According to the report, however, the transfer was not completed purportedly due to "visa issues".
At the same time, a report by the US Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs noted that on 8 August 2017, CEFC wired nearly $5 million to a bank account for Hudson West III, a company created by Hunter Biden and Chinese associates.