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How Hunter Biden’s Firm Helped Safe Cobalt for the Chinese

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How Hunter Biden’s Firm Helped Safe Cobalt for the Chinese

China Molybdenum paid a total of $700 million in loans from Chinese state-backed banks, including the China Construction Bank. According to a Hong Kong filing, BHR raised the balance from obscure entities with names such as Design Time Ltd., an offshore company controlled by China Construction’s investment bank.

Before the deal happened, BHR also signed a deal that allowed China Molybdenum to buy BHR’s portion of the mine, which the company did two years later, the filing shows. That purchase gave China Molybdenum 80 percent ownership of the mine. (The State Mining Enterprise of the Congo kept a stake for itself.)

By the time BHR sold his stake in 2019, Mr Biden controlled 10 percent of the firm through the Washington-based company Schneatells LLC. While Chinese corporate records show Schnaeteles remains a part owner of BHR, Mr Biden’s lawyer Chris Clark said he “no longer has any direct or indirect interest in BHR or Schnaetels.” Chinese records show Mr Biden was not on the board of BHR 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 US founders were not involved in the mine deal and that the firm earned only a nominal fee from it. The former board member said the money went to the firm’s operating fund and was not distributed to its owners.

It is not clear how the firm was picked up by China Molybdenum. Current BHR officials did not return emails and phone calls seeking comment. “We do not know Hunter Biden, nor do we know of his involvement in BHR,” Vincent Zhou, a spokesman for China Molybdenum, said in an email.

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A dozen executives from companies involved in the deal, including Freeport McMoran and Lundin, said in interviews that they were not given the reason for BHR’s involvement. Most executives also said they were unaware of Biden’s ties to the firm during the deal.

Paul Conibier, Lundin’s chief executive at the time, said it was made clear that China was leading the molybdenum transaction, even though the buyer of Lundin’s stake was BHR.

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