White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday that she was ‘not familiar’ with the widely reported claim that Hunter Biden received $3.5million from the wife of Moscow’s former mayor.
Psaki was speaking at her daily press briefing when she was asked by the New York Post what the payment from Elena Baturina, widow of former Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov, was for.
‘I’m not familiar with that claim. It doesn’t sound like it’s backed up by a lot of evidence. If you have evidence or specifics, I’m happy to discuss it further,’ Psaki said.
‘I’m not familiar with the report at all,’ she added when asked about the report from the Senate Finance and Homeland Security committees that made the claim.
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Psaki was speaking at her daily press briefing when she was asked by the New York Post what the payment from Elena Baturina was for
The September Senate report claimed that the firm linked to Hunter Biden received 3.5million from Elena Baturina, widow of former Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov. Senators said that they did not know the purpose of the payment
The alleged 2014 payment was brought up during the presidential campaign last year, with then President Trump talking about it while on the trail.
During one contentious moment at the first presidential debate between Trump and Biden, the president denied that his son was paid the money and called Trump a ‘clown.’
‘Joe got $3.5 million from Russia. And it came through Putin, because he was very friendly with the former mayor of Moscow and it was the mayor of Moscow’s wife. He got $3.5 million. Your family got $3.5 million and you know, someday you’re gonna have to explain — why did you get three and a half [million]?’ Trump said during the debate.
The September Senate report claimed that the firm linked to Hunter Biden received 3.5million from Elena Baturina. Senators said that they did not know the purpose of the payment.
Yelena Baturina’s brother, Viktor Baturina, told DailyMail.com the money was ‘a payment to enter the American market.’
During one contentious moment at the first presidential debate between Trump and Biden, Biden denied that his son was paid the money and called Trump a ‘clown’
Joe Biden was the vice president when Baturina wired the money in a series of payments to a bank account held by Hunter’s investment firm Rosemont Seneca Thornton in 2014, according to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
The following year, she opened up an office in the US to oversee her investments in America. In 2016, she launched her first development project, investing $10 million in commercial buildings next to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
The ultra-wealthy 57-year-old has long been dogged by corruption allegations, stemming from when her late husband, who was the mayor of Moscow, awarded her with lucrative government business contracts, helping her grow the business.
The suspicion the money was given to Hunter in order to influence Joe has been a battle cry of corruption for Republicans, as it would be considered illegal to try to influence a public official into creating policies that would favor Hunter’s interests.
Widow Yelena Baturina and daughter Yelena Luzhkova after a farewell ceremony for Yuri Luzhkov, who served as mayor of Moscow in 1992-2010, at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour
President Trump referenced the alleged payment during the first presidential debate, but Joe Biden flatly denied his 50-year-old son had received the Russian’s money.
Baturina, whose estimated fortune is around $1.3 billion, told DailyMail.com she was ‘not interested’ in explaining an alleged consultancy fee. Hunter’s lawyer denied he received $3.5 million from Baturina, claiming he wasn’t a co-founder of the investment firm.
Baturina is the widow of former Moscow mayor Yury Luzhkov, who died in 2019 and was mayor between 1992 and 2010. The two met in 1987 while working on Moscow’s council committees before marrying in 1991.
Much of Baturina’s fortune was built on her plastics-turned-construction firm Inteco, which dominated the construction business in Moscow – thanks in part to lucrative government contracts granted while her husband was mayor.
Biden speaking at the World Food Program USA’s Annual McGovern-Dole Leadership Award Ceremony at Organization of American States on April 12, 2016
There was outcry in 1995 when her firm was awarded a contract with Moscow to build seats for the 81,000-person Luzhniki Stadium, the city’s largest stadium. Critics accused Luzhkov of corruption by awarding the contract to his wife.
Baturina’s firm later shifted into construction and was credited with receiving up to 20 percent of Moscow’s new construction contracts.
Luzhkov was fired in 2010 by Russia’s then president Dmitry Medvedev over corruption allegations, which were never proven in court prior to his death.
Biden’s campaign immediately panned the report, released six weeks before the election, as an effort by an ally of President Donald Trump’s to damage his election opponent.
The campaign said the investigation was founded on ‘a long-disproven, hardcore rightwing conspiracy theory’ and, even before the report was released, issued a detailed statement aiming to rebut point-by-point allegations that it said had long been debunked by media organizations as well as by U.S. and Ukrainian officials.