Hunter Biden to step down from Chinese company board

Son of Democratic presidential hopeful has faced numerous unsubstantiated attacks from US President Donald Trump.

    Former US Vice President Joe Biden has defended his son's work [File: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters]
    Former US Vice President Joe Biden has defended his son's work [File: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters]

    Hunter Biden has announced he would step down from the board of directors of a Chinese-backed private equity firm at the end of the month as part of a pledge not to work on behalf of any foreign-owned companies should his father win the presidency.

    Biden, the 49-year-old son of Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden, revealed his plan in an internet post written by his lawyer, George Mesires, who outlined a defence of the younger Biden's work in Ukraine and China.

    His work for foreign-owned firms has come under intense scrutiny in recent months amid prodding from President Donald Trump and his Republican allies.

    "Hunter makes the following commitment: Under a Biden Administration, Hunter will readily comply with any and all guidelines or standards a President Biden may issue to address purported conflicts of interest, or the appearance of such conflicts, including any restrictions related to overseas business interests," Mesires wrote.

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    "In any event, Hunter will agree not to serve on boards of, or work on behalf of, foreign-owned companies," he added.

    The president has repeatedly raised allegations of wrongdoing against Hunter Biden's work abroad, without providing evidence to support his assertions.

    He has asked Beijing to investigate Hunter Biden's work in China, claiming without evidence that he earned $1.5bn from a business deal there.

    Trump has insisted that Joe Biden used his role to help protect his son from corruption investigations when Biden pressed for the firing of the top Ukrainian prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, during President Barack Obama's second term in office.

    Ukrainian officials have disputed Trump's theories and the Obama administration's position was supported by many other governments, who saw Shokin as incompetent or corrupt.

    The US leader has also encouraged the Ukrainian president to investigate Biden's family - a move that prompted House Democrats to launch an impeachment inquiry against Trump.

    Democrats assert Trump risked US national security when he withheld aid to Ukraine while simultaneously pressing the country to investigate the Bidens for his own political gain.

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    If impeached, Trump could face a trial in the US Senate where the ultimate punishment would be his removal from office.

    The House inquiry is set to accelerate this week as Congress returns from a two-week break on Monday. White House officials have said they will not comply with House investigators and Trump has denied any wrongdoing.

    Joe Biden leads in most opinion polls in the Democratic primary and most polls in a hypothetical match-up between him and Trump in the 2020 election.

    SOURCE: News agencies