Attempts by President Joe Biden's son Hunter to open a bank account in Malta have come under the spotlight as right-wing media in the United States link it to potential wrongdoing.

The attempts were outed as part of a leaked cache of documents said to originate from Hunter Biden’s laptop.

According to the cache, the account opening process in 2016 was facilitated by Maltese auctioneer Pierre Grech Pillow.

In one e-mail, an official of Ukrainian gas giants Burisma asked for due diligence documents needed for the account to be sent to Pillow’s Attard address.

Biden sat on Burisma’s board of directors between 2014 and 2019.

Times of Malta is informed that Biden did not have any Satabank accounts in his own name. 

Satabank was shuttered in 2018 over concerns that it was facilitating wide-scale money-laundering.

Pillow charged in 2020

Although Biden did not operate a Satabank account, sources say Pillow’s company PGP Trading did own an account at the now-defunct bank.

Pillow was charged with money-laundering in 2020 over an oil rig transaction involving Burisma.

The case against Pillow and lawyer Jason Vella Tabone, who was a PGP Trading director, has been postponed indefinitely as prosecutors await further evidence from overseas.

Prosecutors claimed that Pillow and Vella Tabone acted as “third-party money launderers,” and the transaction was linked to embezzlement.

Pillow and Vella Tabone deny wrongdoing.

According to court testimony, the police probe was triggered by the allegedly suspicious transaction over the sale of the disassembled oil rig.

The transaction was carried out via Satabank.

The court heard how the police investigation began over the involvement of Burisma's founder, Mykola Zlochevsky, a Ukrainian oil and natural gas businessman, politician and oligarch.

Zlochevsky was Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources between 2010 and 2012. He was investigated for several offences in the past over embezzlement but was never charged. 

It also emerged that in 2014, Zlochevsky rented Grech Cumbo Pillow’s Ta’ Xbiex apartment when he was applying for Maltese citizenship through the golden visa programme, the IIP. 

Trump and Zelensky

In 2019, former US president Donald Trump found himself in hot water over a telephone call he had with Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky.

Trump had urged Zelensky to investigate Hunter Biden during the call.

As a result of the call with Zelensky, Trump was impeached on charges of abusing power, but was ultimately acquitted.

Biden’s links to Burisma had long been the focus of corruption claims in the US, particularly by Trump’s Republican Party.

A US senate report in 2020 alleged that Burisma's founder was involved in a multi-million dollar "bribe" scheme to get Ukrainian anti-corruption officials to drop a case against him.  


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