FBI informant charged with lying about Biden, son and Ukrainian energy firm

The FBI informant, Alexander Smirnov, was charged with lying to his handler about the ties between President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, and a Ukrainian energy company called Burisma. He told FBI agents in June 2020 that executives associated with Burisma paid the Bidens $5 million each in 2015 or 2016. Smirnov in fact had only routine business dealings with the company and made the bribery allegations after he "expressed bias" against Biden.

The informant's claims have been used extensively by Republican lawmakers who are investigating the president and his family. Biden's son, Hunter, is also expected to give a deposition later this month as part of the investigation.

The charges against Smirnov show that the allegations are "based on dishonest, uncredible allegations and witnesses," said Abbe Lowell, an attorney for Hunter Biden. The indictment describes how Smirnov fabricated claims that he had been promised a $5 million bribe by Burisma to help the company gain favor with the Obama administration. He repeated some of the false claims when he was interviewed by FBI agents in September 2023 and changed his story about others and "promoted a new false narrative after he said he met with Russian officials," prosecutors said.

If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison. The charges were filed by Justice Department special counsel David Weiss, who has separately charged Hunter Biden with firearm and tax violations.

The allegations became a flashpoint in Congress as Republicans deepened their probe of Biden and his son ahead of the 2024 presidential election, demanding the FBI release the FD-1023 document that documented the allegations. The White House has repeatedly debunked the claims.

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