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FBI informant arrested in Las Vegas, charged with lying about Biden ties to Ukrainian energy company

Hunter Biden, at the time serving as board chairman of World Food Program USA, with then-Vice President Joe Biden in 2016. Hunter Biden says his addictions worsened after his brother Beau's death in 2015.
Teresa Kroeger, Getty Images
Hunter Biden, at the time serving as board chairman of World Food Program USA, with then-Vice President Joe Biden in 2016.

By Lindsay Whitehurst

An FBI informant has been charged with lying to his handler about ties between President Joe Biden, his son Hunter and a Ukrainian energy company.

Alexander Smirnov falsely told FBI agents in June 2020 that executives associated with the Ukrainian energy company Burisma paid Hunter and Joe Biden $5 million each in 2015 or 2016, prosecutors said Thursday.

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Smirnov told the FBI that a Burisma executive had claimed to have hired Hunter Biden to “protect us, through his dad, from all kinds of problems,” prosecutors said.

The allegations became a flashpoint in Congress last summer as Republicans demanded the FBI release the unredacted form documenting the allegations as they pursued investigations of Biden and his family. They acknowledged at the time that it was unclear if the allegations were true.

Prosecutors say that though Smirnov claimed to have had contact with Burisma executives near the end of the Obama administration, it actually took place after Obama and Biden had left office -- when Biden would have had no ability to influence U.S. policy.

“In short, the Defendant transformed his routine and unextraordinary business contacts with Burisma in 2017 and later into bribery allegations against Public Official 1, the presumptive nominee of one of the two major political parties for President, after expressing bias against Public Official 1 and his candidacy,” the indictment said.

He repeated some of the false claims when he was interviewed by FBI agents in September 2023 and changed his story about others and “promoted a new false narrative after he said he met with Russian officials,” prosecutors said.

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Smirnov, 43, was indicted on charges of making a false statement and creating a false and fictitious record. No attorney was immediately listed for him in court records. He was expected to make a first court appearance in Las Vegas, where he was arrested Wednesday after arriving from overseas, prosecutors said.

If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison.

The charges were filed by Justice Department special counsel David Wiess, who has separately charged Hunter Biden with firearm and tax violations.