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Wednesday, May 14, 2014, 10:58
White House nixes Biden son 'nepotism charge'
By Reuters

 White House nixes Biden son 'nepotism charge'
US Vice-President Joe Biden (center) buys an ice-cream at a shop as he tours a Hutong alley with his granddaughter Finnegan Biden (right) and son Hunter Biden (left) in Beijing on Dec 5, 2013. (Photo / AFP)

WASHINGTON - The White House on Tuesday brushed aside questions about whether the involvement of US Vice-President Joe Biden's son in a Ukrainian natural gas company raised ethical issues at a time when the administration is promoting energy diversity in the country.

R. Hunter Biden, a lawyer and a partner in an investment firm, was recently named to the board of directors of Burisma Holdings, a private company that has drilled for natural gas in Ukraine since 2002.

In a statement on Burisma's website, Hunter Biden said he would help the company with "transparency, corporate governance and responsibility, international expansion," and other issues.

Natural gas has been a central issue in recent tensions between Russia and Ukraine. Ukraine depends on Russia for most of its natural gas, and has accused Moscow of hiking natural gas prices as punishment for moving closer to the European Union.

In April, the vice president traveled to Kiev and discussed how the United States could help provide technical expertise for expanding domestic production of natural gas.

Asked by a reporter whether Hunter Biden's appointment to the company presented a conflict, White House spokesman Jay Carney said it did not.

"Hunter Biden and other members of the Biden family are obviously private citizens, and where they work does not reflect an endorsement by the administration or by the vice president or president," Carney said during a briefing.

Kendra Barkoff, a spokeswoman for Vice-President Biden, said he "does not endorse any particular company and has no involvement with this company."

 
 
 
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