Joe heard he had egg rolls.
The New York Times on Wednesday chronicled the meteoric rise and equally precipitous downfall of Chinese oil tycoon Ye Jianming. The “People’s Liberation Army princeling” rolled into Washington as a shining example of a booming economy but now sits in an unknown Chinese prison cell while his empire collapses and his underlings face charges in U.S. federal court.
The Times was particularly interested in Ye’s courtship of former Vice President Joe Biden and his family. Biden’s Chinese relationships were first discussed in Breitbart News Senior Editor-at-Large Peter Schweizer’s bestselling book Secret Empires: How the American Political Class Hides Corruption and Enriches Family and Friends. The Ye saga could prove troubling to Biden if he makes a run at the White House in 2020 and will likely play a role in the endgame of current President Donald Trump’s trade war with China.
As the New York Times described at length, Ye was a high-flying oilman who “ventured to places only the most politically connected Chinese companies dared to go,” meaning hotspots like North Korea and African conflict zones. He assiduously cultivated American political influence during the Obama administration, having launched his CEFC China Energy conglomerate in 2006.
Ye had the good fortune to hail from Fujian province, which also happens to be the home turf of Chinese Communist Party leader Xi Jinping and a famed “clique” of politically connected businessmen. The Chinese government extended him a gigantic line of credit. He spent a few years working for a People’s Liberation Army front, forging ties with the Chinese intelligence community and recruiting man former military officers to his CEFC endeavor. […]
Ye threw a lot of money around in Washington, including “donating as much as $100,000 to the Clinton Foundation,” the storied charitable organization that donated only a tiny fraction of its vast income to charity and mysteriously shriveled into nothing when there was no further chance of Hillary Clinton occupying the White House.
Ye’s company cultivated ties with Republicans as well, especially once the roller coaster of the 2016 presidential election began climbing the tracks, but the Times noted Ye’s prize quarry was the family of then-Vice President Joe Biden:
An aide to Mr. Ye met the vice president’s second son, Hunter Biden, in Washington. Mr. Ye then met privately with Hunter Biden at a hotel in Miami in May 2017, according to people with direct knowledge of the meetings who were not authorized to speak publicly because the meetings were private. Mr. Ye proposed a partnership to invest in American infrastructure and energy deals, the people said.
During this period, the vice president’s son was managing Rosemont Seneca Partners, an investment firm he formed with Chris Heinz, the stepson of John Kerry, the former secretary of state. Mr. Heinz said he has no knowledge of CEFC and ended his relationship with Rosemont Seneca in 2015.
It is unclear whether Hunter Biden struck any business deals with CEFC or Mr. Ye. Through his attorney, Hunter Biden declined to comment.
The most dramatic chapter in the Ye-Biden story came in November 2017, when Ye’s lieutenant Patrick Ho called Joe Biden’s financier brother James looking for help with U.S. federal allegations about bribery in Chad and Uganda, plus an apparent CEFC attempt to help Iran evade oil sanctions. James Biden later said he thought Ho called him by mistake and was actually looking for his nephew Hunter, with whom Ye had those nebulous dealings six months earlier in Miami.