How Hunter Biden’s firm helped secure cobalt for the Chinese
China Molybdenum matched about $ 700 million of that total in loans from Chinese state-backed banks, including the China Construction Bank. BHR raised the remaining amount from obscure entities with names like Design Time Limited, an offshore company controlled by China Construction’s investment bank, according to the Hong Kong documents.
Before the deal was made, BHR also signed an agreement that allowed China Molybdenum to buy BHR’s stake in the mine, which the company did two years later, according to the documents. This purchase gave China Molybdenum 80% ownership of the mine. (The Congo state mining company kept a stake to itself.)
At the time BHR sold its stake in 2019, Mr. Biden controlled 10% of the company through Skaneateles LLC, a Washington-based company. While the Chinese firm’s records show that Skaneateles remains part-owner of BHR, Chris Clark, Mr. Biden’s attorney, said he “no longer holds any interest, directly or indirectly, in BHR or Skaneateles.” Chinese records show Mr. Biden was no longer on BHR’s board of directors as of April 2020. Mr. Biden did not respond to requests for comment.
A former BHR board member told The New York Times that Mr Biden and the other U.S. founders were not involved in the mining deal and the company was only getting a small fee from it. The money, the former board member said, went into the company’s operating funds and was not distributed to its owners.
It is not known how the company was chosen by China Molybdenum. Current BHR executives have not responded to emails and phone calls asking for comment. “We don’t know Hunter Biden, nor are we aware of his involvement in BHR,” China Molybdenum spokesperson Vincent Zhou said in an email.
A dozen executives from companies involved in the deal, including Freeport-McMoRan and Lundin, said in interviews they had not been told why BHR was involved. Most executives have also said they were unaware when agreeing on Mr. Biden’s connection to the company.
Paul Conibear, managing director of Lundin at the time, said it was clear that China Molybdenum was leading the transaction even though the buyer of Lundin’s stake was BHR.