Hunter Biden’s business partner used the federal position he was handed during the Obama administration to court an Eastern European company whose board Hunter was eager to join, according to a batch of emails obtained by The Daily Wire through a Freedom of Information Act request.
Eric Schwerin was appointed to the Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad by President Barack Obama in March 2015. The Commission is a tiny federal agency that — like Hunter and Schwerin’s business — sits at the intersection of U.S. government influence in Eastern Europe and raising money from private interests.
The appointment gave Schwerin, who was managing director of Hunter’s now-dissolved firm, the ability to present himself as a U.S. official, negotiate with Eastern European countries about the preservation of Holocaust-era cemeteries, and bring money to the table to fund the preservation projects — raised from private businesses and individuals.
Schwerin attempted to get a Latvian bank acknowledged on a plaque on a Commission project, during the same month that Hunter was seeking a board seat on the company. Schwerin apparently reneged on his efforts to have the bank to fund the genocide memorial after learning that any generosity would be anonymous rather than a public relations coup for the company.
Schwerin’s appointment to the Commission came less than a year after he brought it to Hunter’s attention, according to emails on Hunter’s abandoned laptop reviewed by The Daily Wire. In one September 2014 email, Schwerin sent Hunter an article about the Commission that mentioned its ability “to use its influence to leverage cooperation from foreign governments.”
After the appointment, Schwerin was able travel to Eastern Europe with a special government “Official Passport.” This could be a major perk for Schwerin, given his business with Hunter, Rosemont Seneca Partners, involved making deals in Eastern Europe based almost entirely on the pair’s political connections.
For his first official duty, Schwerin told the Commission he would raise money for the renovation of a memorial in Latvia. In April 2016, then-Commission chair Lesley Weiss wrote to the Latvian contact that Schwerin had a “relationship with Norvik Bank in Riga,” the nation’s capital. “They would contribute the funds,” Weiss stated.
The “relationship” with Norvik Bank, it turned out, was that Hunter’s fraudster business partner, Devon Archer, was a shareholder of Norvik, and Hunter wanted to be extended a lucrative board seat for himself, according to emails on Hunter’s laptop.
But after the Latvian representative explained that the language on a plaque could not be changed because of politics in Latvia, Schwerin said the donation might be contingent on the donor getting publicly credited.
“This makes it a little heavier a lift if they can’t get some recognition. While I believe all charity should be anonymous I think in this case this donor might like to be recognized,” Schwerin wrote on May 5, 2016. He later added, referring to a discussion about changes in the plaque’s language: “I always believe doing something first and not asking for permission is a good strategy in situations like this.”
(The Latvian contact Schwerin and the Commission were working with on the memorial was later revealed to be a former Soviet Union spy, according to Israel Hayom.)
A May 31, 2016 email to Hunter suggested that Schwerin backed off even asking Norvik for money after learning they would not get credit. “I was originally going to ask Norvik […] but there were some internal issues in Latvia (not necessarily related to Norvik) that make that difficult,” Schwerin wrote. Images of the memorial reveal no recognition for Norvik.
The next day, on June 1, Schwerin, Hunter, and Hunter’s lawyer George Mesires strategized about how to get Hunter a spot on Norvik’s board — without contradicting what they had told the Department of Justice, which was that Hunter was not part of the business run by Devon Archer, who was under investigation for and later convicted of fraud. Schwerin said in the email that he copied a lawyer in part to establish attorney-client privilege “to maintain confidentiality.”
“George’s recommendation is that there is no reason why you shouldn’t serve as an independent director but that you would want to avoid serving as Devon’s proxy in order to maintain the consistent message that there is no relationship between you and RSB/Ulysses other than that which we already outlined to the SEC/DOJ,” Schwerin wrote.
Hunter was involved in Schwerin’s work for the Commission. Schwerin asked Hunter for help editing his speech for the July 4, 2016 ceremony unveiling the memorial renovation in Latvia, which was delivered alongside the president of Latvia, the speaker of the Latvian parliament, and the Israeli ambassador. Schwerin kept Hunter updated throughout the trip, telling Hunter that he looked “kind of bad ass” standing alongside the Latvian president, and “maybe a little JRB like with the Ray Bans,” an apparent reference to Joe Robinette Biden.
Norvik never put Hunter on its board, though his favors for the Latvian bank continued — emails show that in 2017, Hunter signed papers to establish a Norvik account for Burisma, the Ukrainian gas company that paid him handsomely to serve on its board.
Hunter’s Latvian business aspirations were ceaseless. Hunter sought to be appointed to another bank board by Latvian oligarch Valeri Belokon, which he and Schwerin decided to pursue even after noting that Belokon was “accused by the authorities in the central Asian country of Kyrgyzstan of helping facilitate the theft of millions of pounds’ worth of state assets.”
The pair had explored becoming joint owners of a firm called Latellcom with the Latvian government, with Schwerin asking Hunter “Did you ever get to ask Pres. K about the Latvia telecom deal?”
The Eastern European region to which the Commission gave Schwerin access meshed with the area where Schwerin and Hunter had long been trying to portray themselves as powerful and full of contacts. In September 2017 he took a Commission trip to Belarus where he was invited to a meeting at the Presidential Palace, and then went to Poland where he met with government officials. His flights were paid for by the U.S. government. He also explored undertaking a Commission project in Ukraine.
As one of his final acts before leaving office, Obama reappointed Schwerin to the commission on January 19, 2017. Schwerin resigned on September 23, 2019 without explanation.
The Commission is notorious for corruption — The New York Times reported in 2015 while Schwerin was on the Commission that its executive director was simultaneously bringing in nearly a million dollars a year as a lobbyist. The Biden administration just appointed one of the president’s largest political donors, who also bought Hunter’s high-priced artwork, to the same Commission.
The Commission appeared to violate the Freedom of Information Act by refusing to release records to The Daily Wire for this story until litigation was imminent. The Commission ignored a FOIA request, as well as correspondence from the National Archives agency that serves as a mediator for FOIA disputes.
After a lawyer for The Daily Wire contacted its current executive director, Barbi Broadus, she said that Schwerin was refusing to provide his emails to her, and that she did not have access to some Commission records. She later produced what she said were all available emails between Schwerin and Commission staff.
Schwerin did not return a request for comment for this story.