Investigative journalist John Solomon reported Tuesday that the Latvian government had flagged and requested Ukrainian assistance to investigate allegedly "suspicious" payments to Hunter Biden and several Burisma associates in weeks before Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin was fired at the request of then-Vice President Joe Biden and other international stakeholders.
According to a Latvian law enforcement memo, which Solomon said has been confirmed by the Ukrainian general prosecutor's office and the Latvian Embassy in the United States, loan payments totaling $16.6 million were sent to Burisma from Belize and the United Kingdom by way of Ukraine's PrivatBank.
According to the memo, some of those funds were transferred to Biden and three other Burisma officials.
Latvia's Financial Intelligence Unit notified Ukrainian officials of these suspicious payments in February 2016. Solomon reported that Latvia did not receive any evidence back to continue pursuing the issue.
It is the timing, as much as or more than the validity of the suspicions, that is significant, Solomon reported. Shokin was fired in March 2016. Joe Biden has bragged about the role he played in getting Shokin removed.
Those who say the firing had nothing to do with protecting Hunter Biden and Burisma point out that Shokin's Burisma investigation was not active at the time of his termination.
Solomon said Shokin told him differently, however, and that he had specific plans to interview Hunter Biden before he was fired.
Also in February 2016, the prosecutor general's office reportedly seized some assets of Burisma founder Mykola Zlochevsky under court order. After Shokin's firing, Solomon reported, investigations into Burisma began to cool down:
Almost immediately, Burisma's American legal team was in Ukraine seeking to meet with Shokin's replacement at the Ukraine prosecutor general's office.
A summary of an April 6, 2016 meeting between Burisma representatives and Ukraine prosecutors – released by the Prosecutor General's Office – states "false information" was used to justify Shokin's firing.
Whatever the case, the corruption investigations were dropped in late 2016 and early 2017, and Burisma paid a penalty for tax issues.
During the July 25 call with Ukraine President Volodomyr Zelensky that is likely to lead to his impeachment, President Donald Trump asked Ukraine to investigate Hunter Biden's business dealings in Ukraine, and how Joe Biden's influence as vice president may have played a role.