Russian billionaires who shopped for US property with Hunter Biden and dined with Joe dodge sanctions

WASHINGTON — Two Russian billionaires who have managed to dodge US sanctions over Moscow’s year-old invasion of Ukraine went property shopping with Hunter Biden, dined with then-Vice President Joe Biden, and discussed “favors” they might swap, sources tell The Post.

New details of Joe and Hunter Biden’s association with Yelena Baturina and Vladimir Yevtushenkov flesh out tantalizing clues from the first son’s abandoned laptop. The sources spoke with The Post this week after the duo was yet again spared a fresh batch of sanctions announced by the Treasury Department Friday.

“I think it’s very fishy,” said one source who had firsthand knowledge of the business relationship between Hunter Biden and Yevtushenkov — who is sanctioned by the UK and Australia but not by the US.

“I think he should be sanctioned,” Michael McFaul, a former US ambassador to Russia under President Barack Obama, told The Post of Yevtushenkov — estimated by Forbes to be worth $1.7 billion. “I don’t understand why he has not been.”

Yevtushenkov, whose Sistema business empire until recently included Russian rocket and radar-maker RTI and drone-maker Kronstadt, admitted last year he met with Hunter Biden for breakfast at the Ritz-Carlton in Manhattan on March 14, 2012 — but denied any further contact.

However, emails and calendar entries from Hunter’s former laptop show that they were set to meet again on Jan. 27, 2013, for dinner at DC’s Cafe Milano before looking at a commercial real estate development the next day near Dulles International Airport in northern Virginia.

“I asked [Yevtushenkov], ‘Why are you doing this?’ on the front end — before I understood that they were going to buy some real estate,” the source told The Post. “‘Why are you even doing this? Why would you be paying the son of the vice president to meet at a public restaurant in New York City?’

“He made it very clear to me that, you know … ‘I think it would be good to have a good relationship with this guy … maybe he can do a favor for us and we can do a favor for him,’” the source continued. “It was a complete quid pro quo that he was going in for.”

“I told him that’s not the way it works in America, [but] he basically laughed at me and told me I was so naïve,” the source recalled of Yevtushenkov, whose holdings also include Russia’s largest cellphone provider, MTS — which faced a long-running investigation into nearly $1 billion in bribes paid to Uzbekistani officials between 2004 and 2012.

MTS, which was listed on the New York Stock Exchange before trading in its shares was suspended in July of last year, ultimately settled the case with the Trump Justice Department in 2019, agreeing to pay an $850 million fine.

A different source, meanwhile, told The Post he vividly recalled Baturina and her husband, ex-Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov, looking “like an odd couple” at a now-infamous, intimate dinner with Hunter and his father, the then-vice president.

It’s long been uncertain whether Baturina, estimated by Forbes to be worth $1.4 billion, and Luzhkov actually attended the April 16, 2015 dinner at Cafe Milano — the same Georgetown restaurant where Hunter and Yevtushenkov set a date more than two years prior.

“They could have played themselves on ‘Saturday Night Live,’” said the source, who attended the dinner and was able to identify the couple in part because he met Luzhkov — who died in 2019 — on several other occasions. (Another source previously told The Post that a pair matching Baturina and Luzhkov’s general appearance was there.)

Luzhkov, who was Moscow’s mayor for 18 years until 2010, “looked a lot older” than Baturina — 27 years her husband’s junior — who “went overboard” on her appearance and ended up resembling Jennifer Coolidge’s comedic portrayal of an insecure heiress in HBO’s “The White Lotus,” the source recalled.

“It was an odd dinner because there was [then-Kazakhstani Prime Minister Karim] Massimov, Luzhkov and his wife, and it was not a big table and then there was somebody there from some food charity making a pitch for support,” they added. “I mean, it was, was — it was a little odd, the whole thing.”

In an email at the time, Hunter wrote that the meal would be “ostensibly” about his role a chairman of the World Food Program (WFP) USA.

His father, the sitting vice president, arrived at the dinner and stayed for about 40 minutes, the second source told The Post, even sitting down to eat and then posing for a photo with the Kazakhstani group.

The gathering also featured Vadym Pozharskyi, an executive at Ukrainian energy company Burisma, which paid Hunter up to $1 million per year beginning in 2014 while his VP dad controlled the Obama administration’s Ukraine policy.

Pozharskyi emailed Hunter the next day to thank him for “giving an opportunity to meet your father” — forming the basis of The Post’s first October 2020 bombshell from Hunter Biden’s laptop.

Joe Biden called the report a false “Russian plant” at the time and social media platforms Twitter and Facebook initially censored it.

Baturina would have been familiar with Hunter Biden, having met with him and his then-business partner Devon Archer for a drink in April 2014 at the Villa d’Este — a well-known haunt of Russian oligarchs overlooking Italy’s Lake Como. On the same trip, Hunter also met the Ukrainian-Russian oligarch owner of Burisma, Mykolai Zlochevsky.

Two months earlier, on Feb. 14, 2014, Baturina had wired $3.5 million to a bank account held by Rosemont Seneca Thornton, the investment firm Hunter had co-founded.

Source: https://nypost.com/2023/03/02/unsanctioned-russians-shopped-us-land-with-hunter-biden-dined-with-joe/