Lawmakers want to know how much money President Biden’s family and their business associates may have made from deals transacted during his years as vice president and beyond, and the trail begins with the dozens of SARs of the Treasury Department for business transactions related to Biden.
Bank secrecy laws prohibit the committee from discussing any of the data they have reviewed so far, but the panel’s staff have confirmed media reports that US banks have flagged more than 150 business transactions solely for Mr. Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, and Mr. Biden’s brother have. James Biden.
“That’s a big number,” said House Oversight and Accountability Committee spokeswoman Jessica Collins. “It doesn’t mean it’s illegal activity, but it does mean it could be suspicious.”
The House GOP’s review of Treasury Department records is part of an effort to determine whether the web of lucrative foreign deals secured by the Bidens and their business partners has endangered President Biden and, in turn, national security.
Deals were concluded with foreigners from China, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan and other countries. The transactions date back to the years before Mr. Biden became president, including his time as vice president.
Republicans also want to know how the Biden family and its associates made the money and whether it was a lobbying scheme. They also want to know if President Biden has ever cut profits.
Mr. Biden has denied being involved in or knowing anything about the business dealings of his son, brother and their associates.
The Treasury Department initially denied requests for reports of suspicious activity by Republicans on the House Oversight Committee in 2022 when the GOP was in the minority.
Republicans eventually gained access to the reports when they took control in January.
House Oversight and Accountability Committee Chairman James Comer, a Kentucky Republican, has begun searching the reports for bank account information that the committee will use to complete the foreign business deals involving the First family and their network of business partners are to be further investigated.
Bank documents obtained so far by Mr Comer and released earlier this month showed that a Chinese Communist Party-backed oil company wired $3 million to Biden staffer Rob Walker two months after Mr Biden ended his term as vice president. Records showed that Mr. Walker distributed the money among Biden’s family members and business associates. Biden’s family members received more than $1 million.
“We will continue to use bank documents and reports of suspicious activity to follow the money trail to determine the extent of the Biden family’s business plans, whether Joe Biden is compromised by these deals, and whether there is a national security threat,” Mr. said Comer.
Panel investigators have asked Hunter Biden, James Biden and several of their business partners to voluntarily provide them with records and documents related to their dealings.
So far, only business partner Eric Schwerin has agreed to cooperate. The committee has the power to issue subpoenas for the others.
Hunter Biden’s attorney, Abbe Lowell, dismissed the committee’s offer to expose corruption through the Treasury Department’s reports of suspicious activity, or SARs.
He said banks often make these reports about benign banking transactions.
In 2021, banks generated more than 1.4 million reports of suspicious activity, but few resulted in evidence of criminal activity. According to the Banking Policy Institute, only about 4% of reports of suspicious activity result in an investigation by law enforcement.
“Rep. Comer knows only too well that SAR reports are not uncommon,” Mr Lowell said in a statement to The Washington Times. “In fact, since 2014, more than 65,000 SARs have been filed in Rep. Comer’s own congressional district , friends or co-workers.”
A financial institution generates a SAR when a transaction meets certain parameters recognized by a computer algorithm, according to the Banking Policy Institute.
The algorithms are triggered by factors such as large-volume cash transactions or large transfers to a country where the bank customer does not normally do business.
According to the FDIC, banks must file an SAR if they suspect “a known or suspected violation of federal law.” Banks monitor insider abuse, transactions totaling $5,000 or more where a suspect can be identified, transactions $25,000 or more unrelated to potential suspects, and transactions $5,000 or more involving potential money laundering or violations violations of the Banking Secrecy Act include state FDIC rules.
Tom Fitton, president of the conservative-backed watchdog group Judicial Watch, said while a SAR isn’t necessarily indicative of illegal activity, he believes Mr Comer has already proven the Biden family was involved in a money-laundering scheme
“Follow-up is required and does not mean fraud is taking place,” Mr Fitton said of the SARs. “But the information it contains has raised additional questions about the Biden family’s relationship with the Chinese communist government.”
The information Republicans uncovered prompted Mr. Comer’s panel to consider new legislation to strengthen federal ethics laws involving public officials and their families. The committee also analyzes federal laws to determine whether banks have the proper tools to detect and report potential money laundering activity.
On St. Patrick’s Day, reporters asked Mr. Biden for bank records showing a $1 million payment to his son, brother and daughter-in-law Hallie Biden, which appears to have come from the Chinese Communist Party-backed oil company.
“That’s not true,” Mr. Biden replied.
Mr. Comer wrote to the White House last week and provided Mr. Biden with the list of bank transactions that showed payments to Biden’s family members.
“The American people deserve honest and transparent answers from President Biden regarding his family’s questionable foreign dealings,” Comer wrote to White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. “The Committee requests that you, as President Biden’s press secretary, correct his March 17, 2023 statement that the evidence in the bank records is ‘untrue’ or explain in detail which financial transactions he denies in the table below.”
Source : www.washingtontimes.com