Timeline: Hunter Biden, Burisma and the Trump Ukrainian Scandal

Hunter Biden

Key Points: Hunter Biden was appointed to the board of directors of Burisma, a Ukainian energy company, in April 2014. His five-year term ended in April this year.

Burisma was founded in 2002 by Ukrainian oligarch Mykola Zlochevsky. In 2010, Zlochevsky was appointed minister of ecology and finance under newly elected pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovich.

There appears to be an inherent conflict of interest in the appointment of an energy baron to head the Ecology and Finance Ministry, and Zlochevsky and Burisma have been investigated many times over the years for tax violations, money-laundering and self-dealing via the ministry.

In 2016, Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko stated that there was never a hint that either Hunter Biden or Joe Biden did anything wrong in relation to Burisma. He repeated this in a May 16, 2019, interview with Bloomberg News. “Hunter Biden did not violate any Ukrainian laws — at least as of now, we do not see any wrongdoing,” Lutsenko said, “A company can pay however much it wants to its board.”

2002

Ukrainian oligarch Mykola Zlochevsky founds Burisma, an energy company.

2009

June:: Hunter Biden co-founds Rosemont Seneca Partners, with Christopher Heinz (the stepson of John Kerry and heir to the Heinz fortune) and Devon Archer, who had been friends with Heinz at Yale. [1]

2010

February 7, 2010: Viktor Yanukovych elected president of Ukraine.

In an apparent conflict of interest, Burisma founder Mykola Zlochevsky serves as a minister of ecology and finance under President Yanukovich. His term ends in 2012.

2013

November 2013: Political revolution in Ukraine. Tens of thousands protest the government of President Yanukovych. His reluctance to join the European Union is a major point of contention. [2]

2014

Sometime in 2014: An investigation begins into Burisma founder Zlochevsky for tax violations, money-laundering and self-dealing via his ministry position. The government quickly shutters the inquiry, however.

February 2014: The pro-Russian Ukrainian Yanukovytch government falls. His security forces crack down on the demonstrators killing more than 70 civilians and spurring a political backlash. Yanukovych flees to Russia.[2]

March-April 2014: Russian forces invade Crimea and declare the annexation of the peninsula, starting a war that continues today and has killed more than 14,000 people. [2]

April 2014: Hunter Biden, son of Vice President Joe Biden, is appointed to a five-year term on the Burisma board of directors. According to Reuters, board meetings were held outside Ukraine, and Hunter Biden never visited the country. Reuters also says Biden assisted with analysis of oil and gas assets the company was considering buying abroad.[3]

May 25, 2014: Chocolate and confectionery magnate/oligarch Petro Poroshenko elected president on a platform or reengaging with the West.[2]

June 19, 2014: Vitaly Yarema is named prosecutor general.[2]

August 5, 2014: Yarema opens an investigation of Burisma owner Mykola Zlochevskiy on suspicion of “unlawful enrichment.” [2]

October 14, 2014: Ukraine’s Parliament passes a law establishing the National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU), a priority of anti-corruption campaigners who’d helped lead the revolution and of the U.S. government (led by Vice President Biden) and other international backers of Ukraine. [2]

2015

February 10, 2015: Viktor Shokin named prosecutor general, replacing Yarema.[2]

Sept. 24, 2015: U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt excoriates the prosecutor general’s office (PGO) for stymieing anti-corruption investigations, including those involving Burisma. [2]

Fall 2015: Biden, along with the EU, publicly calls for ouster of Prosecutor General Shokin for failure to work on anti-corruption efforts. [2]

December 8, 2015: Vice President Biden makes a speech to Ukraine’s Parliament urging the country to step up anti-corruption measures. Full text of Biden’s speech [HERE].

2016

January 21, 2016: Vice President Biden meets with Ukrainian President Poroshenko and discusses “the need to continue to move forward on Ukraine’s anti-corruption agenda.”[2]

February 11, 2016: Vice President Biden speaks with Poroshenko by phone. Biden, members of the International Monetary Fund and representatives from the European Union urge the firing of Prosecutor General Shokin, who was said to be deeply corrupt.

At this time, Shokin was not investigating Burisma, a fact that fed suspicions that he was corrupt. Biden later said: “I looked at them and said: ‘I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money.’ Well, son of a bitch. He got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time.” [4]

Yuriy Lutsenko succeeds Shokin as prosecutor general. He reinstates a tax investigation into Burisma and closes it within ten months by requiring the company to pay a large fine. [3]

Lutsenko has stated many times that there was never a hint that either Hunter Biden or Joe Biden did anything wrong. [4]

August 22, 2016: Marie Yovanovitch is named U.S. ambassador to Ukraine. [3]

September 2016: Ukrainian courts close further investigations into Burisma because no evidence of wrongdoing was presented. [3]

2017

June 8, 2017: Rudolph Giuliani meets with President Petro Poroshenko and Prosecutor General Lutsenko, among other officials, during a visit to Kyiv. [3]

2018

January 23, 2018: Vice President Biden boasts about the pressure he exerted on Ukraine during a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in Washington.[2]

April 30, 2018: At an exclusive dinner with President Trump at his Washington hotel hosted by the America First super PAC, Ukrainian-American businessman Lev Parnas and Belarusian-American associate Igor Fruman urge Trump to fire Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, claiming she was unfriendly to the president and his interests.[2]

May-June 2018: Lev Parnas presses then-Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) to urge the administration to remove Ambassador Yovanovitch, around the same time as Parnas and Fruman commit to raising money for Session’s re-election campaign. [2]

August 2018: Lev Parnas’ company, Fraud Guarantee, hires Giuliani Partners, the former mayor’s management and security consulting firm, to consult on Fraud Guarantee’s technologies and provide legal advice on regulatory issues. Giuliani ultimately is paid $500,000 for the work. [2]

September 28, 2018: Congress passes a spending bill for the Department of Defense that includes $250 million in military aid under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI). The money must be disbursed by Sept. 30, 2019. [2]

Late 2018: Parnas and Fruman arrange a Skype call between Giuliani and former Prosecutor General Shokin. The two businessmen also connect Giuliani with then-Prosecutor General Lutsenko. Giuliani invites Lutsenko to his office in New York, a meeting they arrange for January. Lutsenko tells the LA Times that Giuliani pressed him repeatedly to open an investigation on the Bidens and Burisma, even though Lutsenko had seen no evidence of legal wrongdoing. [2]

2019

Late February 2019: At Giuliani’s behest, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman press then-President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko to initiate the bogus investigations. They said the action would be rewarded by a state visit to Washington for Poroshenko, who was fighting a tough campaign for re-election against Zelenskyy. Prosecutor General Lutsenko also attended the meeting. [2]

Spring 2019: Parnas and Fruman work with Giuliani to press for Ambassador Yovanovitch’s ouster. [2]

Early March 2019: State Department asks Ambassador Yovanovitch to extend her term in Ukraine until 2020. [2]

March 2019: Ukraine Prosecutor General Lutsenko opens two investigations — one into whether Ukraine interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and a second into Burisma and Biden. [2]

March 24, 2019: Donald Trump Jr. tweets criticism of U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Yovanovitch, calling her a “joker” and linking to a conservative media outlet’s article about calls for her ouster. His Tweets are part of a pattern of conservative attacks against the ambassador. [2]

April 2019: Hunter Biden’s five-year tenure on the Burisma board ends.

April 21, 2019: Volodymyr Zelenskyy elected president of Ukraine on a zero tolerance anti-corruption platform. [2]

April 21, 2019: First Trump-Zelenskyy phone call. Trump makes no reference to corruption. [2]

April 29, 2019: Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor is asked to go to Kyiv as chargé d’affaires to temporarily replace Yovanovitch. [2]

May 16, 2019: Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko tells Bloomberg News that neither Hunter Biden nor Burisma are now the focus of an investigation. “Hunter Biden did not violate any Ukrainian laws,” he said, “at least as of now, we do not see any wrongdoing. A company can pay however much it wants to its board.” [4]

May 20, 2019: Forced out by President Trump, Ambassador Yovanovitch leaves Ukraine permanently, the same day Zelenskyy is inaugurated. [4]

May 20-24, 2019: Zelenskyy is inaugurated as president on May 20, taking over from Poroshenko. [4]

June 21, 2019: Giuliani tweets, “New Pres of Ukraine still silent on investigation of Ukrainian interference in 2016 election and alleged Biden bribery of Pres Poroshenko. Time for leadership and investigate both if you want to purge how Ukraine was abused by Hillary and Obama people.” [4]

July 10, 2019: U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland raises Biden investigation with Ukrainians in White House meeting. [4]

Early to mid-July, 2019: Trump orders suspension and review of U.S. aid to Ukraine. He orders Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney to hold back almost $400 million in military aid. [4]

July 22, 2019: Andriy Yermak, a top aide to Zelenskyy, speaks with Giuliani by phone. They discuss the Trump-Giuliani demands for investigations and the new Ukrainian leader’s desire for a White House meeting to affirm continued U.S. support for Ukraine. [2]

July 22, 2019: Hunter Biden issues a statement about his time on the Burisma Holdings board: “At no time have I discussed with my father the company’s business or my board service.” [4]

August 2019: Ruslan Ryaboshapka is named prosecutor general. He later says he is not aware of any wrongdoing by Hunter Biden. [3]

September 9, 2019: Inspector General for the Intelligence Community (ICIG) Michael Atkinson informs House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff and Ranking Member Devin Nunes of the whistleblower complaint’s existence.

September 2019: Former Ukraine prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko tells Reuters that Hunter Biden’s position on the board when his father was vice-president raised no red flags. “From the point of view of Ukrainian law,” Lutsenko said, “(Hunter Biden) didn’t violate anything.” [3]

July 24, 2019: Special Counsel Robert Mueller testifies in two hearings before the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees on his report. [2]

July 25, 2019: Trump and Zelenskyy speak by phone for the second time. Referring to investigations into Hunter Biden and 2016 election, Trump tells Zelenskyy he’ll release the military funds, but “I need you to do a favor, though.” [2]

Week of July 29, 2019: White House alerted to whistleblower’s charge of corruption.[2]

On or about August 2, 2019: Giuliani meets in Madrid with Andriy Yermak, a top aide to Zelenskyy, presses for an investigation into the bogus conspiracies. [2]

August 12, 2019: A whistleblower files a complaint to ICIG Michael Atkinson related to an alleged “urgent concern.” [2]

August 28, 2019: Politico breaks the news that President Trump was delaying the distribution of $250 million of fiscal 2019 security assistance that Ukraine needs to fight its war with Russia. [2]

September 1, 2019: Ambassador Bill Taylor raises the specter of a quid pro quo in a text message to Sondland and Kurt Volker,
former United States Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations: “Are we now saying that security assistance and WH meeting are conditioned on investigations?” Sondland replies only, “Call me.” [2]

September 9, 2019: Inspector General for the Intelligence Community (ICIG) Michael Atkinson informs House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff and Ranking Member Devin Nunes of the whistleblower complaint’s existence. [2]

September 10, 2019: John Bolton steps down as National Security Advisor. Bolton says he resigned; Trump says he fired him. [2]

September 11, 2019: Two days after Chairman Schiff was officially informed about the whistleblower’s charges, Trump releases the hold on U.S. security assistance to Ukraine. [2]

September 24, 2019: Impeachment inquiry begins.

October 6, 2019: In a Tweet, Trump says Hunter Biden “was handed $100,000 a month (Plus, Plus) from a Ukrainian based company, even though he had no experience in energy.” He added, in the Twitter message, that it couldn’t have been legitimate and as president he has “an OBLIGATION to look into possible, or probably CORRUPTION.”

According to payment records reviewed by Reuters that two former Ukrainian law enforcement officials say are Burisma’s, the company paid about $3.4 million to a company owned by Hunter Biden between April 2014 and November 2015. Specifically, the records show 18 months in which two payments of $83,333 per month were paid to the company for “consulting services.” The two sources said that one of those monthly payments was intended for Biden and one for his company. [5]

October 10, 2019: Parnas and Fruman are arrested on federal charges of violating prohibitions against foreign funding of election campaigns in that scheme and others. The indictment alleges their funding came from a Russian businessman who isn’t identified in the indictment. [2]

October 13, 2019: Hunter Biden’s lawyer, George Mesires issues a statement: “Despite extensive scrutiny, at no time has any law enforcement agency, either domestic or foreign, alleged that Hunter engaged in wrongdoing at any point during his five-year term.” In a subsequent interview on ABC News, Hunter Biden acknowledged that joining the board while his father was vice president may have been poor judgment. “Did I make a mistake based upon some ethical lapse?” he added. “Absolutely not.” [3]

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