Biden visits Mexico as GOP eyes role in family’s below-border biz

MEXICO CITY — President Biden arrived in Mexico late Sunday for the North American Leaders’ Summit as newly empowered House Republicans vow to investigate his role in his family’s international businesses, including in Mexico, where he helped relatives woo the nation’s business elite, according to records from first son Hunter Biden’s laptop.

Joe Biden, as vice president, used Air Force Two and his official residence in Washington to host his son Hunter and younger brother Jim Biden’s Mexican associates in what critics say was part of a broader corrupt use of government assets to score business for his family.

President Biden’s Mexico trip is his first visit to another Western Hemisphere country since taking office. He will meet on Monday and Tuesday with the leaders of Canada and Mexico for talks expected to touch on trade, record-breaking illegal immigration and drug smuggling.

President Biden touring the Bridge of the Americas in El Paso, Texas, during a visit to the border before leaving for Mexico on January 8, 2023.
REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

It’s unclear if Biden will meet with any business associates of his relatives during the trip, which followed a brief stop at the US-Mexico border on Sunday.

Laptop records about the Biden family’s Mexico pursuits span Joe Biden’s vice presidency and the years before he took office as president — a period that coincided with the family seeking an array of foreign deals, including in China and Ukraine.

Jeff Cooper, a longtime US-based Biden family business associate, was a pervasive figure in the Biden family’s Mexican ventures and was reached by The Post for comment. Cooper rushed off the phone when asked about those ventures, promising he would answer questions by email before choosing not to do so.

Carlos Slim with Hunter and Joe Biden in 2015.
Jeff Cooper (left) poses at the vice president’s residence in 2015 with Joe and Hunter Biden and a trio of Mexican billionaires.

“I’m not gonna lie to you, I actually answered on accident,” Cooper said when a reporter for The Post introduced himself on the phone Friday.

“So I apologize,” Cooper told The Post. “I don’t have five minutes today. But if you happen to email questions, if you’d like, I’m happy to answer them, of course.”

Cooper did not respond to emailed questions seeking to clarify his extensive role in the Biden family’s Mexican business efforts, which featured efforts to do business with the country’s immensely wealthy Slim and Aleman families.

Hunter Biden visited Mexico on apparent business trips at least six years in a row — from 2011 through 2016 — while his father was vice president, according to laptop records, and communications include references to his father, though details remain vague on the amount of money that changed hands and Joe Biden’s specific involvement.

Then-Vice President (center) meets with Mexican billionaires Carlos Slim (left) and Miguel Aleman Velasco (right).
The then-vice president (center) meets with Mexican billionaires Carlos Slim (left) and Miguel Aleman Velasco (right).

A source close to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who took office Saturday, told The Post that House Republicans are intent on getting answers.

“The Biden administration and family will go to the ends of the earth to frustrate our investigators, but there are a number of parties that are beyond their reach of corrupt influence — banks and other financial institutions, business partners that were cheated or defrauded by the Bidens and others in possession of control of relevant documents and records,” the source close to McCarthy said. “We will get answers whether they like it or not.”

Cooper is a key potential witness who could illuminate the Biden family’s Mexican business interests and whether Joe Biden corruptly used his office to win financial benefits for his family.

Cooper is a wealthy asbestos litigation lawyer and his business links to the Biden family date back to at least 2005, when he worked on lawsuits with Joe Biden’s late son Beau Biden’s firm Bifferato, Gentilotti & Biden. By 2006, his former law firm SimmonsCooper invested $1 million for Hunter, Beau and Jim Biden’s failed investment bank Paradigm.

The investment came the same year as Congress considered asbestos reform legislation, in which the elder Biden played a pivotal role blocking a change that could have limited funding for payouts, after extensive lobbying by Cooper’s firm. A Joe Biden spokesman claimed in 2008 that the money wasn’t linked to the bill and that the Biden family bank repaid the investment. Before the business flopped, Jim Biden allegedly predicted Paradigm would succeed because “we’ve got people all around the world who want to invest in Joe Biden,” according to a 2021 book by Politico reporter Ben Schreckinger.

Cooper and Hunter Biden proceeded to partner on Mexican business pursuits involving the Slim and Aleman families.

Since at least 2011, Hunter hobnobbed with Mexican telecom billionaire Carlos Slim, who at one point was the world’s richest man. A Hunter Biden electronic calendar entry says that in May 2011, Hunter was booked for a “tentative tour hosted by Carlos Slim” of the tycoon’s private “Soumaya Museum” in Mexico City.

President Biden visited the US border on Sunday en route to Mexico City.

Hunter proceeded to hold meetings and video calls with Slim’s sons Carlos Jr. and Tony Slim in 2011 through 2015, according to records previously reported by The Post’s Miranda Devine.

Hunter and Cooper sought Slim’s investment for Cooper’s online gaming company Ocho Gaming and digital wallet firm ePlata, in which Hunter had a 5.25% stake through his firm Owasco, The Post previously reported.

Hunter also reportedly owned 3% of Cooper’s venture capital firm Eudora Global and earned around $80,000 a year serving on the company’s board, according to laptop documents. In 2015, Hunter received a “one-time payment” of $300,000 from Eudora.

Then-Vice President Biden in 2015 hosted in Washington both Slim and the wealthy Mexican Aleman family, whom Hunter Biden and Cooper separately were courting.

Cooper is pictured at the vice president’s official residence on Nov. 19, 2015, with Joe Biden, Hunter Biden, Carlos Slim, another Mexican billionaire, Miguel Alemán Velasco, and his son Miguel Aleman Magnani, the founder of the airline Interjet.

It wasn’t the last time Joe Biden would be associated with the business relationship. A text message recovered from Hunter’s laptop shows him referring vaguely to involving his father in a “Slim ask” — after Joe Biden left the vice presidency.

“Spoke to my dad about ‘Slim ask,’ ” Hunter texted Cooper on July 24, 2018.

“Oh that sounds SO F’ING GOOD,” Cooper replied.

Cooper and Hunter Biden courted Aleman Magnani, meanwhile, by performing favors such as setting up meetings with US officials while seeking reciprocal assistance with Ukrainian energy company Burisma’s effort to enter Mexico’s energy sector. Cooper and Hunter also considered the Aleman family as possible online gaming investors.

Hunter Biden sought business in Mexico during his dad’s vice presidency.

“Miguel [Aleman Magnani] wants us to go to Mexico City,” Cooper wrote to Hunter Biden on Feb. 26, 2013, shortly after Joe Biden was sworn in for a second term as vice president, for which Hunter helped score tickets for the Mexican businessman.

“This is setting up to be flippin gigantic brother,” Cooper added.

Hunter set up two meetings for Aleman Magnani with Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx, on March 17, 2014, and Jan. 23, 2015, and a different meeting with the Federal Aviation Authority’s administrator, according to laptop emails.

Cooper emailed Hunter to ask if he would be joining the Mexican air executive, but the second son replied, “No, but I am calling Sec. Foxx to let him know we are buddies.”

Hunter emailed a Foxx staffer that “Miguel Aleman (Interjet Chairman) is a close family friend but I have no business with the company.”

Cooper wrote to Hunter in 2014 about the possibility of involving Burisma in Aleman Magnani’s January 2015 meeting with Foxx. The Ukrainian company paid Hunter up to $1 million per year to serve on its board when then-Vice President Biden controlled the Obama administration’s Ukraine policy.

House Republicans led by Speaker Kevin McCarthy plan to investigate the Biden family’s businesses.
Pat Benic/UPI/Shutterstock

“I met with Miguel [Aleman Magnani] last night. He has set up mtgs with the Secty of Energy and the CEO of Pemex for Jan 12. Is there any chance that anyone from Burisma could attend?” Cooper wrote.

It’s unclear what ended up happening with that request, but Hunter later asked Aleman Magnani to help “smooth out” a Mexican visa problem for Burisma owner Nikolai Zlochevskyi, who ultimate was unable to travel to Mexico to finalize a deal Cooper set up with Pemex, the state-owned Mexican oil and gas company.

“Going to have to do some serious back pedaling with Burisma,” Hunter wrote in an email to Cooper on Feb. 16, 2015. “Most likely jeopardizes my board position.”

Cooper replied suggesting that Joe Biden, the sitting vice president, place a call to the Mexican businessman.

“I am shocked Miguel didn’t come through at crunch time,” Cooper wrote. “[T]hey clearly value the relationship with your family AND they know they could sustain serious damage here by making enemies with you … Maybe a call from you or your dad to his dad? Maybe that shakes things loose. Whaddya think?”

An email the same month made clear that the Alemans were considered possible gaming investors.

Attorney General Merrick Garland has resisted pressure to appoint a Biden family special counsel.
Getty Images

“Just wondering who is the best first major partner outside Interjet. Obviously [the] Slims provide that if we could actually sell them on the idea and not have them just take it and create their own,” Hunter emailed Cooper in February 2015.

But it’s unclear whether the Slims or Aleman Magnani ever came through for Hunter, and the then-vice president’s son vented to the Interjet chief while he and Cooper flew aboard Air Force Two on an official vice presidential visit to Mexico City on Feb. 24, 2016.

“We are arriving late tonight on Air Force 2 to Mx City. I’m attending meeting [with Mexican] President [Enrique Peña Nieto] and dad. Would love to see you but you never respond. I am really upset by it … I want you at the plane when the VP lands with your Mom and Dad and you completely ignore me,” Hunter wrote to Aleman Magnani.

“I’ve looked at what your family has done and want to follow in that tradition,” Hunter went on. “We have been talking about business deals for 7 years. And I really appreciate you letting me stay at your resort villa … but I have brought every single person you have ever asked me to bring to the F’ing White House and the Vice President’s house and the inauguration and then you go completely silent … You make me feel like I’ve done something to offend you.”

There are other Mexican threads involving the first family’s business ventures, including Jim Biden’s involvement and the unclear outcome of various pursuits, and Hunter’s relations with other Mexican businessmen. For example, laptop records also indicate that Hunter had breakfast with billionaire and Clinton Foundation donor Carlos Bremer, the former director of Mexico’s stock exchange, in Monterrey in northern Mexico.

Biden will meet with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador in Mexico City.

Jim Biden, who also worked with Hunter on Chinese business ventures that allegedly involved his powerful brother, emailed Hunter on May 7, 2015, about a proposed deal that would involve Slim and Pemex.

“Have a very real deal with Pemex (Carlos Slim) need financing literally for a few days to a week,” Jim Biden wrote. “Have the seller (refinery /slims) and buyer major being delivered from pipeline in (h/ USA) Nothing is simple but this comes very close. As always the devil is in the detail! Any interest on the long skirts part?”

Later, in 2017, Jim Biden more cryptically wrote to Hunter, “short list of foreign friends for next phase.” The list included Slim, whom Jim described as “very friendly” and “arguably the richest man in the world.”

Joe Biden has denied making any money from his son’s prior overseas business deals, and the White House says he stands by his 2019 claim that he has never even discussed those enterprises with his son — despite evidence that he has interacted with Hunter and Jim Biden’s associates from ChinaKazakhstanMexicoRussia and Ukraine.

President Biden and his son Hunter Biden will be the subject of a number of investigations by the Republican-led House.
Hunter Biden flew with his dad to Mexico on Air Force Two in 2016.

Sometimes initial reporting doesn’t capture the full scope of the Biden family business arrangements. For example, it was not immediately clear in October 2020 to what degree Hunter and Jim Biden cemented business relations with CEFC China Energy when documents on that endeavor were first reported, before more intensive review revealed the Bidens likely were paid $4.8 million by the Beijing-linked firm.

Hunter Biden said in communications retrieved from a former laptop that he paid as much as “half” of his income to his father, and a 2017 email described 10% for the “big guy” in a business deal being negotiated in China. Two former Hunter Biden associates have identified Joe Biden as the big guy.

Hunter Biden reportedly is under federal criminal investigation for possible tax fraud, money laundering, lying on a gun purchase form and unregistered foreign lobbying.

After his father became president in 2021, Hunter launched a new art career and is seeking as much as $500,000 for his novice works. The White House developed a plan for those art sales to be “anonymous” to theoretically prevent corruption, though ethics experts say that the arrangement could make matters worse.

Attorney General Merrick Garland has resisted calls to appoint a special counsel to insulate the ongoing Hunter Biden investigation from political pressure — despite naming a special counsel Nov. 18 to oversee a pair of investigations into former President Donald Trump.

The White House and attorney for Hunter Biden did not respond to The Post’s requests for comment.


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