Hunter Biden, whose foreign business dealings have been under federal investigation since 2018, is now facing potential prison time for failing to register as a foreign agent while doing business overseas for years.
According to the United States Department of Justice, The Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) “requires certain agents of foreign principals who are engaged in political activities or other activities specified under the statute to make periodic public disclosure of their relationship with the foreign principal, as well as activities, receipts and disbursements in support of those activities.”
This 1938 law requires that individuals acting as “an agent, representative, employee or servant… at the order, request, or under the direction or control of a ‘foreign principal,’ must register with the US government”, and failure to do so is punishable by up to five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.
In 2015, Hunter met with the Crown Prince of Yugoslavia and his wife, who reportedly requested that he ask his father to provide funds for the refurbishing of their palace in Belgrade.
FARA expert Craig Engle explained that “if Hunter relayed the request for US government assistance then that would be a FARA registrable event.”
Hunter’s infamous laptop revealed that he held several meetings with Joe Biden following his meetings with foreign officials.
Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company, paid Hunter $83,333 per month to serve on its board. Hunter later introduced his father – who was Vice President at the time – to one of the company’s top executives. Shortly after this introduction, Joe Biden pressured Ukrainian government officials to fire a prosecutor who was investigating the foreign energy company.
“Given the nature of the client, given the nature of the work, and given his relationship with Joe Biden as demonstrated on his calendar, it makes it likely that FARA is part of an investigation,” added Engle.
Biden’s laptop also contained emails from the president of his investment firm Rosemont Seneca Partners, Eric Schwerin, in which he discussed their decision to remain unregistered despite domestic and foreign lobbying laws.
In one email from 2011, Schwerin wrote, “Was reading an article saying how [former White House Chief of Staff William] Daley was never a ‘registered’ lobbyist although he directed SBC and JP Morgan’s lobbying efforts. Also the article noted that he was registered as Foreign Lobbyist under FARA at one point… sometimes I wonder why we stress about this so much.”
Jonathan Turley, a George Washington University Law Professor, reported that “the compelling basis for a FARA charge has become unassailable and undeniable.”