President Joe Biden‘s brother James Biden has abandoned a new clean-energy investment firm he launched in the United Kingdom after a White House ethics review and new rules aimed at banning conflicts of interest.
James Biden, and his wife Sarah Biden, had started a limited liability partnership called 2BT, Financial Times reported, which planned to invest in firms transitioning away from using fossil fuels to green energy sources instead.
The Bidens and Peter Teare, a partner at Reed Smith, established another venture called Shelbourne Partners through 2BT, but that project has since been abandoned.
Teare told Financial Times it would be ‘mistaken’ to think that decision to scrap the company was related to the review – but did not appear to provide another explanation for why the project was axed.
James Biden, and his wife Sarah Biden, had started a limited liability partnership called 2BT that recently launched in the United Kingdom aimed at investing in green projects
The project has since been abandoned after a White House ethics review and new rules established by the Biden administration aimed at banning conflicts of interest
Joe Biden, left, is pictured with his brother James Biden, right, at Ellen’s Homemade Ice Cream in Charleston, West Virginia in 2008
He told the outlet that he could not discuss the private business affairs of the Bidens, including reasons ‘why they may decide to pursue a particular opportunity or not.’
Shelbourne Partners was established to ‘explore prospective investment opportunities, particularly in the clean-energy sector,’ Teare told the Financial Times.
But just weeks after it was launched, the White House completed the review of the business plans to conform to strict new rules President Biden’s administration has introduced.
The Biden administration has sought to draw a distinct line between his approach to the business interests of his family members and the approach of former President Donald Trump, who often faced scrutiny for his family’s business interests.
He hired daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner as senior White House advisers, with son Donald Jr also acting as a campaign spokesman for his dad.
During the 2020 presidential election, Biden came under fire for revelations that his son Hunter Biden had taken a position on the board of a Ukrainian energy company called Burisma when he was vice president during the Obama administration.
Hunter did so despite having no apparent qualifications, and was paid up to $50,000 a month until April 2019, sparking allegations that he had used his dad’s name and influence to bag the job.
Before his inauguration, Joe Biden told Jake Tapper on CNN that his family members would not participate in business interests that conflict with his role as president.
‘My son, my family will not be involved in any business, any enterprise, that is in conflict with or appears to be in conflict, with the appropriate distance from, the presidency and government,’ Biden said.
The Financial Times explained that under Biden’s new procedures, the president’s family members should first reveal potential business plans to their own lawyers and notify the White House legal counsel if needed.
Hunter Biden, pictured in May, faced questions over his appointment to the board of a Ukrainian energy firm, despite having no experience in the field
The White House will then provide advice on if the business plans should proceed – but allows the family members to make the last final call, the outlet reported.
‘The president adopted ethics rules and standards for his administration that surpass those of any other administration in history, and include standards for his relatives,’ a White House official told the outlet.
The conclusions drawn from the ethics review into Shelbourne Partners were not revealed.
Shelbourne Partners is jointly owned by 2BT and another firm, International Capital Investment.
Ricardo Nicolás Mallo Huergo, an Argentine lawyer, launched that firm with José Luis Manzano – a former congress member in Argentina who is also an associate of James Biden, Financial Times reported.
Huergo and Manzano also head the Buenos Aires private equity firm Integra Capital as general counsel and president respectively. Through Integra, Huergo and Manzano already invest in traditional energy projects including oil and gas.
Huergo told Financial Times that Shelbourne Partners planned to fund projects aimed at transitioning from fossil fuels to clean energy.