KIEV, Ukraine – Ukraine's prosecutor general said he had no evidence of wrongdoing by U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden or his son, despite a swirl of allegations by President Donald Trump's lawyer.
The controversy stems from diplomatic actions by Biden while his son, Hunter Biden, sat on the board of Burisma Group, one of the country's biggest private gas companies. As vice president, Biden pursued an anti-corruption policy in Ukraine in 2016 that included a call for the resignation of the country's top prosecutor who had previously investigated Burisma.
Yuriy Lutsenko, the current prosecutor general, said that neither Hunter Biden nor Burisma were now the focus of an investigation. He added, however, that he was planning to offer details to U.S. Attorney General William Barr about Burisma board payments so American authorities could check whether Hunter Biden paid U.S. taxes on the income.
"I do not want Ukraine to again be the subject of U.S. presidential elections," Lutsenko said in an interview. "Hunter Biden did not violate any Ukrainian laws — at least as of now, we do not see any wrongdoing. A company can pay however much it wants to its board." He said if there is a tax problem, it's not in Ukraine.
The prosecutor laid out a more detailed explanation about what was under investigation by his office after a flurry of diverging reports. While the prosecutor's office hasn't reopened a case against Burisma, it is pursuing information about the company's owner in connection with a long-running criminal investigation of another mogul who fled the country five years ago. That matter concerns a transaction unrelated to Hunter Biden, he said.
In recent weeks, Rudy Giuliani, Trump's personal lawyer, has said that Joe Biden had a conflict of interest when he pressed Ukraine's officials to crack down on corruption. Giuliani said Biden could have been trying to help his son's business dealings and that Ukraine needs to investigate.
Those comments have brought fresh scrutiny of Ukraine's prosecutors and whether they are now investigating matters related to Burisma or taking other steps to curry favor with the U.S. administration.
Giuliani scrapped a planned trip to Ukraine this month to discuss the Biden allegations and other matters with Lutsenko and Ukrainian politicians after a report in the New York Times spurred criticism that he was seeking to harm a Democratic opponent.