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Republicans to interview member of notorious crime family in prison about Biden investigation

Interview with Jason Galanis comes hours after a key source in House Republicans’ impeachment inquiry was arrested for a second time on charges of lying in allegations about the president and his son Hunter Biden

Andrew Feinberg
Friday 23 February 2024 16:57 GMT
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Biden's brother James Biden arrives to give evidence at impeachment probe

Republican investigators will visit convicted fraudster and member of the notorious Galanis crime family Jason Galanis in an Alabama prison on Friday in the latest attempt to salvage the impeachment investigation into president Joe Biden, The Independent has learned.

According to a source, House investigators are headed to Federal Prison Camp Montgomery to interview Galanis, a convicted criminal who is serving a 14-year prison sentence for conspiracy to commit securities fraud, securities fraud, and investment adviser fraud in addition to other crimes.

Galanis, whose father, John Galanis, was a target of then New York US attorney Rudy Giuliani’s crime crackdown back in the 1980s, was a business partner of Devon Archer – the former business associate of Hunter Biden who was also convicted of fraud for convincing a Native American tribe to issue economic development bonds, then diverting the proceeds for his own personal use.

The scheme for which Archer was convicted is also partly why Galanis is in prison, with prosecutors describing him in court documents as the “mastermind” of the fraud.

Galanis was previously convicted of participating in a market manipulation and fraud scheme in which he also evaded a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) order prohibiting him from serving as an officer or executive at publicly traded companies.

At the time, then Acting US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Audrey Strauss said that Galanis had “orchestrated two multimillion-dollar fraud schemes, and hid behind a team of co-conspirators to conceal his involvement and defy an SEC ban”.

Galanis’ jailhouse interview marks just the latest example of Republicans seeking information from shady characters amid the so-far floundering impeachment inquiry.

It comes hours after a key source was arrested for a second time on Thursday on charges of having fabricated bribery allegations against Mr Biden.

Last week, federal prosecutors indicted Alexander Smirnov, a former FBI confidential human source, for allegedly fabricating bombshell allegations of bribery against Mr Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.

According to the indictment, Mr Smirnov allegedly “provided false derogatory information” to agents about the Bidens back in June 2020, allegedly telling them about two meetings with an executive from Burisma, the Ukrainian energy company which employed Hunter Biden as an attorney and later as a member of its corporate board.

Mr Smirnov allegedly told agents that “executives associated with Burisma, including Burisma Official 1, admitted to him that they hired [Hunter Biden] to ‘protect us, through his dad, from all kinds of problems’”.

Jason Galanis is currently in prison in Alabama (Jason Galanis Holmby Capital Group/Facebook)

He also allegedly told agents that the Burisma executives had made $5m payments to both the president and his son when the elder Mr Biden was vice-president, so that Hunter Biden would “take care of all those issues through his dad”, referring to a criminal probe involving Burisma being conducted in Ukraine.

Prosecutors further allege that Mr Smirnov told agents about a phone call with the executive, in which he claimed he’d been “forced” to pay the alleged bribes and said it would take investigators a decade to find evidence of the payments.

The allegations, which were documented in an FBI form used to record witness interviews, have figured prominently in claims made by Republican members of Congress conducting an impeachment investigation into Mr Biden, most notably House oversight committee chair James Comer and Judiciary committee chair Jim Jordan.

But they explain that Mr Smirnov’s allegations against the Bidens were completely made up.

Mr Smirnov, they wrote, had only had contact with Burisma executives in 2017, when Joe Biden “had no ability to influence US policy”.

“In short, the Defendant transformed his routine and unextraordinary business contacts with Burisma in 2017 and later into bribery allegations against Public Official 1, the presumptive nominee of one of the two major political parties for President, after expressing bias against Public Official 1 and his candidacy,” they said.

“Defendant’s story to the FBI was a fabrication, an amalgam of otherwise unremarkable business meetings and contacts that had actually occurred but at a later date than he claimed and for the purpose of pitching Burisma on the Defendant’s services and products, not for discussing bribes to Public Official 1 when he was in office,” they added.

Mr Smirnov was rearrested on Thursday on the charges.

Meanwhile, another Republican inquiry witness, Israeli academic Gal Luft, is currently a fugitive from justice after he disappeared following a February 2023 arrest in Cyprus at the request of US authorities.

A federal grand jury in New York charged Mr Luft with “with offenses related to willfully failing to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, arms trafficking, Iranian sanctions violations, and making false statements to federal agents”.

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