One of the law firms hired by Hill, Lankford & Reed, claims that James Biden was also hired in 2011 to negotiate a secret deal with the Saudis to settle the dispute and avoid paying Lankford the 40% cut outlined in their contract.
In a sworn statement by Thomas Sullivan, a former Treasury Department official and private investigator hired by Lankford, James Biden said he was hired to handle Hill’s “business development” and was assigned to the company’s interests in Saudi Arabia. Biden said he often represented Hill in meetings “because the name didn’t hurt.”
According to James Biden, he attended a meeting with Saudi officials in February 2012, during which Hill would receive “final payment” for the desalination plant. Biden said the payment would be made in cash and “a very large amount” of future business.
In a separate affidavit, Thomas Lankford, a partner at Lankford & Reed, alleges that his firm and the Saudis had tentatively agreed on a settlement of Hill’s claims worth around $100 million by November 2011. However, after James Biden’s meeting with Saudi officials, Hill claimed that the Saudis had backed off on the settlement.
Lankford alleges that Hill CEO Irvin Richter had retained James Biden because the Saudis “would not dare stiff the brother of the Vice-President who would be instrumental to the deal.” Lankford also claimed that US government officials “became guarded” after the meeting and that Hill was awarded $358 million from the Saudis in construction management contracts since February 2011, despite doing “virtually no business” with Riyadh prior.
James Biden is said to have revealed that Hill and Riyadh secretly agreed to settle through the award of future contracts and that the settlement may have involved a cash payment to Richter.
A representative for James Biden denied that any negotiations took place and called the story “yet another attempt to smear Jim Biden.”
President Biden has denied knowledge of his family’s foreign business deals, including those involving James and his son Hunter.
The House Oversight Committee has asked the Treasury Department for information about transactions flagged as suspicious involving James Biden in the Middle East, specifically in Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
The committee’s chairman, James Comer, said that “evidence continues to mount that the Biden family used Joe Biden’s name to secure deals around the world to enrich themselves” and that “if Joe Biden is compromised by his family’s deals, this is a national security threat.”
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