An investment firm linked to Hunter Biden received over $130 million in federal bailout loans while his father Joe Biden was vice president and routed profits through a subsidiary in the Cayman Islands, according to federal banking and corporate records reviewed by the Washington Examiner.
Financial experts said the offshore corporate structure could have been used to shield earnings from U.S. taxes.
Rosemont Capital, an investment firm at the center of Hunter Biden’s much-scrutinized financial network, was one of the companies approved to participate in the 2009 federal loan program known as the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility, or TALF.
Under the program, the U.S. Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve Bank issued billions of dollars in highly favorable loans to select investors who agreed to buy bonds that banks were struggling to offload, including bundled college and auto loans.
According to federal records, 177 firms participated in TALF, many of them well connected in Washington or on Wall Street. For investors, there was little risk and a high chance of reward. The Federal Reserve funded as much as 90% of the investments. If the bonds were profitable, the borrowers benefited. If not, the department agreed to take over the depreciated assets with no repercussions for the borrowers.
“It’s very complicated to become qualified as a TALF borrower or as a TALF fund, if you will,” Carol Pepper, a wealth management specialist, told Forbes in 2009. “But that’s an example of where, if you can get into a TALF fund, you can benefit from this government program.”
Under the terms for the program, any U.S. company looking to invest in select categories of bonds was eligible to apply for the loans. However, the Treasury Department and Federal Reserve maintained the “right to reject a borrower for any reason,” and the internal selection process was criticized by some lawmakers as opaque and open to corruption.
“How can my constituents in Vermont get some of that money? Who makes the decisions? Do you guys sit around in a room — do you make it? Are there conflicts of interest?” Sen. Bernie Sanders asked Federal Reserve Bank Chairman Ben Bernanke at a March 3, 2009, Senate hearing. “Do you have to be a large, greedy, reckless financial institution to apply for these monies?”
Joe Biden was a key advocate for the financial bailout, which was approved under the Bush administration and expanded under President Barack Obama. He delayed his Senate resignation in January 2009 to cast his final vote to increase funding for the Troubled Asset Relief Program before taking office as vice president.
“These guys are not the most likable guys in the world,” Biden said about the banks and hedge funds aided by the government intervention. “But here are the facts … Had we not bailed out the largest bank institutions in the world, there would have been a flat-out depression.”
One of the firms that benefited was Rosemont Capital, a company led by Hunter Biden’s business partners, Chris Heinz and Devon Archer. The firm received the loans at a crucial time for Hunter Biden. The younger Biden had stepped down from his lobbying business in late 2008, reportedly due to pressure on his father’s vice presidential campaign.
Biden, Heinz, and Archer incorporated Rosemont Seneca Partners in Delaware on June 25, 2009. The “alternative investment and market advisory firm” was an offshoot of Rosemont Capital, which held a 50% stake in the new venture. Rosemont Seneca and Rosemont Capital shared the same office address in lower Manhattan and the same New York phone number, according to Securities and Exchange Commission documents. Three weeks after Rosemont Seneca was incorporated, a subsidiary of Rosemont Capital, called Rosemont TALF SPV, received $23.5 million in federal loans through the TALF program. This included $13.4 million to invest in student loans and $11.1 million to invest in subprime auto loans. Over five months, the company received a total of $130 million from the program in multiple installments for investments in subprime credit cards and residential mortgages.
“This is a great example of the suspicion of many Americans that these bailouts were used to benefit connected insiders while ordinary Americans went broke,” said Tom Anderson, director of the Government Integrity Project at the National Legal and Policy Center, an organization that was critical of TALF at the time.