FBI informant accused of lying about Biden’s ties to Ukrainian business


WASHINGTON (AP) — An FBI informant has been accused of orchestrating a multimillion-dollar bribery scheme tied to President Joe Biden. his son hunter and a Ukrainian energy company, a claim that is the focus of a Republican impeachment inquiry in Congress.

Prosecutors said in an indictment that Alexander Smirnov falsely reported to the FBI in June 2020 that executives associated with Ukrainian energy company Burisma had paid Hunter and Joe Biden $5 million each in 2015 or 2016. According to court documents, Smirnov told his handler that an executive claimed he hired Hunter Biden to “protect us from all kinds of problems through his father.”

Prosecutors say Smirnov actually had only routine business deals with the company in 2017 and faces bribery charges after he “expressed bias” against Joe Biden when he was a presidential candidate.

Smirnov, 43, appeared briefly in a Las Vegas court on Thursday after being charged with making false statements and creating false and fictitious records. He did not file any petition. The judge ordered the courtroom cleared after federal public defender Margaret Wightman Lambros requested a closed-door hearing to argue about sealing court documents. He declined to comment on the matter.

The whistleblower’s claims have been at the center of a Republican effort in Congress to investigate the president and his family, and have helped highlight what is now happening Biden’s impeachment inquiry in the House, An attorney for Hunter Biden, who is expected to testify later this month, said the charges show the investigation is “based on dishonest, unreliable allegations and witnesses.”

The top Democrat on the House Oversight and Accountability Committee, Representative Jamie Raskin of Maryland, called for ending the Biden impeachment inquiry.

Raskin said Republicans’ allegations against Biden “have always been a mixture of lies based on conspiracy theories.” He called on Speaker Mike Johnson, Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer and House Republicans to “stop promoting this nonsense and end their impeachment investigations.”

Comer, R-Ky., downplayed the importance of the informant who played a key role in beginning the investigation.

“Clearly, the impeachment investigation is not dependent on the FBI’s FD-1023,” Comer said in a statement, referring to the form documenting Smirnov’s allegations.

The chairman said the investigation is “based on a large record of evidence, including bank records and witness testimony,” including interviews this week. He said the committee will continue to “follow the facts” and determine whether to proceed with articles of impeachment against Biden.

In the indictment, prosecutors say Smirnov had contact with Burisma executives, but it was routine and actually occurred in 2017, after President Barack Obama and his Vice President Biden left office — when Biden had more influence to influence the company. There was no capacity for American policy.

Smirnov “changed his regular and extraordinary business contacts with Burisma in 2017, after he expressed prejudice against Public Official 1 and his candidacy and subsequently as a potential candidate of one of the two major political parties for the presidency, public “Converted to bribery charges against Officer 1.” The prosecution said.

When he was interviewed by FBI agents in September 2023, he repeated some false claims and changed his story about others, and “after meeting with Russian officials, he promoted a new false narrative,” prosecutors said.

If convicted, Smirnov faces a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison.

The charges were filed by Justice Department special counsel David Weiss, who has separately charged Hunter Biden Firearms and tax violations,

Burisma’s allegations became an issue in Congress as Republicans investigating President Joe Biden and his family demanded the FBI release unredacted forms documenting the allegations. He admitted that he could not confirm whether the allegations were true or not.

Comer last year subpoenaed the FBI for the so-called FD-1023 document as Republicans deepened their investigation of Biden and his son Hunter ahead of the 2024 presidential election.

Working with Comer, Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa released a declassified document, which Republicans claimed at the time was crucial to their investigation. hunter biden, This adds to information that was widely disseminated during Donald Trump’s first impeachment trial This includes Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s efforts to dig into Biden ahead of the 2020 election. After Grassley released the document, the White House said the claims made in it have been “debunked for years.”

The impeachment inquiry into Biden’s son’s business dealings has lagged in the House, but the panel is moving forward with its work.

Hunter Biden is expected to appear before the committee later this month. His lawyer Abbey Lovell said she had long warned that the investigation was based not on facts but on lies told by people with political agendas. We were right and their balloon has deflated.”

A judge set a detention hearing for February 20 for Smirnov, who was arrested at the Las Vegas airport after arriving in the US from abroad.


Associated Press writers Ken Ritter and Eric Tucker in Las Vegas contributed to this report.


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