Latest News 07-01-2024 01:03 9 Views

Former Burisma lawyer registers as foreign agent more than seven years later amid Hunter Biden investigations

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A lawyer who previously represented the head of Burisma, the Ukrainian energy company that once employed Hunter Biden, registered retroactively as a foreign agent for the work he did for the natural gas company seven years ago.

The registration from John Buretta came in documents filed Thursday with the U.S. Department of Justice under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), which requires lawfirms and lobbyists to disclose their work representing the interests of foreign clients.

The disclosure from Buretta for the 2016 work he did for Mykola Zlochevsky — who co-founded Burisma Holdings in 2002 — came more than seven years after the fact, raising questions and concerns about why Hunter Biden, who also performed work on behalf of Burisma and Zlochevsky at the time, did not register as a foreign agent under FARA.

Buretta previously worked as a defense lawyer for Zlochevsky amid corruption investigations into the Burisma chief by the Ukrainian government and, according to FARA documents, U.S. authorities.

In the forms filed this week, Buretta's law firm, Cravath, Swaine & Moore, noted, 'In January 2016, Mr. Buretta was retained to represent Mykola Zlochevsky in connection with possible investigations by governmental authorities in the United States. The representation thereafter broadened to include Burisma Holdings Limited, as well as governmental investigations in Ukraine, and continued until April 2017. The representation included both registrable and non-registrable activities. This registration and related materials cover all interactions with U.S. government officials in the course of the representation.'

As part of his representation of Zlochevsky, the law firm noted in the form that Buretta met with three Obama administration officials in March 2016 and sent another U.S. government official a letter in September 2016.

'In these interactions, Mr. Buretta identified his clients and presented facts relevant to potential U.S. and Ukrainian investigations, including information from a UK proceeding involving his clients,' the law firm noted.

Buretta's law firm did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital's request for comment, but in a statement to the Washington Examiner explained that the filing came after a discussion with the DOJ.

'After discussions with the Department of Justice regarding FARA’s scope, Cravath has filed a retroactive registration covering legal services provided to two former clients in March and September 2016, and a supplemental statement terminating the registration as of September 2016,' a Cravath, Swaine & Moore spokesperson told the outlet.

In recent years, the DOJ has strengthened its enforcement of FARA violations. During former President Donald Trump's administration, the DOJ prosecuted former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort for failing to register as a foreign agent for work he performed in Ukraine.

Unlike Buretta, however, Manafort, who was eventually sentenced to prison, was not allowed to retroactively file a FARA disclosure to avoid charges being levied against him.

Included in the Thursday FARA filing was a breakdown of how much money Cravath received from Burisma Holdings. From January 2016 to August 2017, the firm was paid nearly $350,000, according to the documents.

The filing from Buretta and his attorneys comes as House Republicans continue to investigate Hunter Biden, who has been accused of violating FARA, wire fraud, money laundering, and other alleged crimes.

Then-Vice President Biden and Hunter Biden allegedly 'coerced' Burisma CEO Mykola Zlochevsky to pay them millions of dollars in exchange for their help in getting the Ukrainian prosecutor investigating the company fired, according to allegations contained in an unclassified FBI document released last July by Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa.

Grassley said he released the document, which describes an alleged criminal bribery scheme involving Joe Biden and a Ukrainian business executive, so that the American people can 'read this document for themselves without the filter of politicians or bureaucrats.'

The document in question was an FBI-generated FD-1023 form — a confidential human source (CHS) reporting document — that reflects the FBI's interview with a 'highly credible' confidential source who detailed multiple meetings and conversations he or she had with a top executive of Burisma Holdings over the course of several years starting in 2015. Hunter Biden, at the time, sat on the board of Burisma.

Biden has acknowledged that when he was vice president, he successfully pressured Ukraine to fire prosecutor Viktor Shokin. At the time, Shokin was investigating Burisma Holdings, and at the time, Hunter had a highly lucrative role on the board, receiving thousands of dollars per month. The then-vice president threatened to withhold $1 billion of critical U.S. aid if Shokin were not fired.

Biden allies maintain the then-vice president pushed for Shokin's firing due to concerns the Ukrainian prosecutor went easy on corruption, and say that his firing, at the time, was the policy position of the U.S. and international community.

The House Oversight Committee next week will hold a meeting to consider a resolution to hold Hunter Biden in contempt of Congress after violating his congressional subpoenas.

The Oversight Committee and House Judiciary Committee subpoenaed Hunter Biden for a closed-door deposition last month as part of the House Republican-led impeachment inquiry against President Biden. He defied the subpoena and held a press conference outside the Capitol complex instead.

Fox News' Brooke Singman contributed to this report.

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