by Andrew Kerr and Chuck Ross
Participants in a multi-million dollar scheme to defraud an American Indian tribe touted links to Hunter Biden and his business associate, Devon Archer, according to court documents the Daily Caller News Foundation reviewed.
Biden is not accused of wrongdoing in the case, which centered on a fraudulent $60 million bond offering involving the Wakpamni Lake Community Association, an affiliate of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. But the documents, reported here for the first time, shed light on how associates saw Biden during a period when his father, Joe Biden, served as vice president.
“Hunter Biden works for [Archer]. So we’ve got the top level politicos with us. All of my guys, is as top tier as it gets,” Bevan Cooney, who a jury convicted in the Wakpamni scam, said in a secretly recorded phone call that is cited in exhibits that Archer’s defense team produced during an appeal of his conviction in the case.
“Well, you know — but you see that this is who we’re doing business with? You don’t get more politically connected and make people more comfortable than that,” Cooney also said in the phone conversation.
Cooney, who a judge sentenced to 30 months in prison on July 31, was a close associate of Jason Galanis, who prosecutors described as the “mastermind” of the bond ripoff. Cooney also bragged about knowing Archer for years.
Federal prosecutors in Manhattan filed charges in the case on March 11, 2016, against seven individuals, including Galanis, Cooney and Archer.
Hunter Biden and Archer, who was an adviser to John Kerry’s presidential campaign in 2004, were partners in Rosemont Seneca Bohai, an asset management firm. In 2014, Hunter Biden and Archer joined the board of Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian energy firm.
Hunter Biden’s position on the board has drawn criticism from President Donald Trump and his allies because Joe Biden at the time served as the Obama administration’s chief liaison to Ukraine.
Financial documents released in the Archer case show that Burisma Holdings made bimonthly payments of $83,333 to Rosemont Seneca Bohai.
A jury convicted Archer on June 28, 2018 on conspiracy and securities fraud charges, but Judge Ronnie Abrams overturned the conviction on Nov. 15, 2018, saying that there was insufficient evidence to show that Archer was aware of the bond fraud.
As part of the scam, Galanis and his co-conspirators set up a complex scheme to divert funds from the $60 million bond sale to buy personal luxuries, such as cars, property and jewelry.
The scheme defrauded both the tribe and investors in funds that purchased the worthless bonds.
Galanis pleaded guilty to conspiracy and security fraud charges in the case, and Abrams sentenced him to 14 years in prison on Aug. 11, 2017. The jury convicted Cooney and John Galanis, who is Jason Galanis’s father, alongside Archer.
The court documents also cite a deposition given by Raycen Raines, a member of the Wakpamni tribe who met with John Galanis in the early days of the scheme in 2014.
Raines, who was not accused of wrongdoing in the investigation, said in a deposition that he heard “more than once or twice” that Archer was Hunter Biden’s business partner. Raines also said that John Galanis “did in fact boast about Mr. Archer and Mr. Biden’s involvement.”
An attorney for Hunter Biden did not respond to a request for comment.
Hunter Biden acknowledged in an interview that aired Tuesday that he has benefited from his father’s political positions.
“I think that it is impossible for me to be on any of the boards … without saying that I’m the son of the vice president of the United States,” Hunter Biden told an ABC News correspondent.
“If your last name wasn’t Biden do you think you would have been asked to be on the board of Burisma?” the reporter asked.
“I don’t know. Probably not,” he said. “I don’t think that there’s a lot of things that would have happened in my life if my last name wasn’t Biden.”
Jason Galanis also touted links to Hunter Biden and Archer in text messages with Michelle Morton, an investment adviser who has pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges.
“Hunter and Devon … will change your access forever,” Jason Galanis wrote Morton in an Oct. 24, 2014 text message, according to the court documents.
“By the way I was with Devon and the son of the prime minister of Kazakstan [sic] last night. Devon is coming in full time to burnham we have a plan with buying hunters broker-dealer,” he wrote on Aug. 24, 2014.
“Hunters dad is the union champion,” he added, seemingly referring to Joe Biden.
Morton, who pleaded guilty in the conspiracy and is awaiting sentencing, did not respond to a request for comment.
Hunter Biden and Archer’s Chinese business activities have also come under scrutiny.
Rosemont Seneca Bohai, an advisory firm controlled by Hunter Biden and Archer, partnered with a Chinese asset management firm to form BHR Partners in 2013.
Hunter Biden flew with his father aboard Air Force Two on a trip to China in 2013. During the trip, Hunter Biden met with Jonathan Li, the CEO of BHR Partners. The younger Biden introduced Li to his father, but denies that they discussed business.
Hunter Biden said Oct. 13 that he is stepping down from the board of the Chinese equity firm.
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Andrew Kerr and Chuck Ross are reporters at Daily Caller News Foundation.