Hunter Biden, after years of shady international business deals, cocaine addiction, and sex benders, now finds himself the son of a U.S. president, living in a hilltop Malibu mansion, and selling his paintings for up to $500,000 each.
The associates who were along for the often lucrative, always wild, ride have not fared nearly as well. What follows is a list of some of Hunter Biden’s closest associates, based on the contents of his laptop and other records, and where they have wound up.
Ye Jianming: On death row in China?
Ye is former Chinese tycoon and founder of CEFC Energy. Hunter once asked Ye to wire $10 million for a business called SinoHawk Holdings, saying, “Please accept the best wishes from the entire Biden family,” the New York Post reported.
“It’s been clear for some time that this is not just a Chinese commercial company, that they had some intelligence ties,” one expert told The New York Times of CEFC. Ye owned a $9 billion share in Russia’s state oil company and, through CEFC, donated $100,000 to the Clinton Foundation. “Many who met Mr. Ye believed he was the grandson of a famous Chinese military leader; people in his hometown say he comes from a family of boatmen,” the paper said.
Ye was reportedly a former official for the China Association for International Friendly Contact, which a congressional report said had “dual roles of intelligence collection and conducting People’s Republic of China propaganda.” By 2018, he was being detained by Chinese President Xi Jinping.
In a May 2018 video on his laptop, Hunter referred to Ye saying, “The richest man in the world is missing, who was my partner,” according to the Washington Examiner. In December 2018, Hunter wrote a frustrated email to his assistant Katie saying he was cutting her pay because of financial troubles. He referred to Ye: “If you haven’t noticed Katie my business partner is now a prisoner on death row in China.”
Ye’s current fate could not be confirmed, but he was last known to be in Chinese custody in 2018 for unspecified crimes, according to The New York Times. That was around the same time his top lieutenant, Patrick Ho (see below) was convicted of bribery by U.S. prosecutors.
Ho “Patrick” Chi Ping: Sentenced to prison
Hunter Biden called Ho, a former Chinese government official who went on to work for Ye at CEFC, the “f***ing spy chief of China.” Ho was arrested at JFK Airport in New York in November 2017, and his first call from jail was to James Biden, the president’s brother. Ho paid Hunter Biden $1 million, purportedly to serve as his lawyer after he was convicted of violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act for bribing African leaders for oil rights. The African schemes often involved the relatives of politicians, according to court papers.
In the May 2018 video on his laptop, Hunter Biden complained that, “I have another New York Times reporter calling about my representation of the, literally, Dr. Patrick Ho — the f***ing spy chief of China who started the company that my partner [Ye], who is worth $323 billion, founded.”
Ho was released in June of 2020 and returned to Hong Kong.
Jason Galanis: Sentenced to prison
Jason Galanis comes from a notorious white-collar mob family. Galanis and several others — and, emails and promotional materials suggest, Hunter Biden — were involved in a venture called Burnham. Jason and others — but not Hunter Biden — were eventually convicted for a $60 million scam involving Burnham and an impoverished Native American tribe.
Devon Archer: Sentenced to prison
Devon Archer is a former roommate of Chris Heinz — the stepson of former Secretary of State John Kerry — and business partner of Heinz and Hunter Biden. “Every great family is persecuted prosecuted in the US— you are part of a great family,” Hunter Biden told him in a March 2018 text after he was arrested for the Native American scam.
But things soured by May 2018, when in an audio tape on his laptop, Hunter Biden said “my best friend Devon has named me as a witness without telling me in a criminal case — and my father — without telling me,” RealClearInvestigations reported. An SEC subpoena for Hunter Biden is also on the laptop.
Archer was convicted by a jury for the Native American tribe scheme, then had his conviction vacated by a judge, before that was reversed by an appeals court. In February, he was sentenced to a year and a day in prison and a forfeiture of $15 million.
While awaiting sentencing, Judge Ronnie Abrams allowed Archer to continue his international business junkets. “Abrams allowed Archer to visit China, United Kingdom, Jamaica, Italy, England, Spain, France, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, Kazakhstan, United Arab Emirates, Vietnam, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Mexico, the Philippines, Turks and Caicos islands, Ukraine, Serbia, and French Antilles,” the Madison Record reported.
At the time of sentencing, Archer was working for Jeff Cooper, a lawyer and longtime Biden family associate. An email on the laptop written during Joe Biden’s time as vice president appeared to explore plans for Joe Biden, Hunter Biden, and Jeff Cooper to work together after he left office.
According to a letter to the judge at sentencing, Archer was also working in senior management at Atomic 47, a company that helps immigrants send remittances back to their home countries — a business which stood to grow under Biden’s lenient immigration policies.
Bevan Cooney: Spilled on Hunter from prison
In 2019, Cooney was sentenced to 30 months in prison for his role in the Native American scheme, plus $43 million in restitution. Cooney likely did not endear himself to Hunter Biden by providing the contents of his emails to journalist Peter Schweizer. He was released in May 2021, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
Telman Ismailov: Wanted for murder
Hunter Biden met with Ismailov, a Russian oligarch and ally of Vladimir Putin, in Moscow in 2012, while his father was vice president, the New York Post reported. The meeting also included three other oligarchs.
In 2017, Ismailov was accused of paying $2 million to commission the murder of two businessmen over a money dispute. His lawyer told Radio Free Europe that the charges were the result of “political and economic persecution,” and he was granted asylum by Montenegro.
Hunter Biden’s meeting was part of a trip seeking investors for Rosemont Realty, a business venture co-founded by Hunter Biden, Archer, and Heinz, the Post reported.
What did the oligarchs want out of the meeting? “The only reason someone — other than a crack dealer or a hooker — would want to meet Hunter Biden is to get to his dad,” Jim Hanson, president of the Security Studies Group, told the Post.