The White House has defended its role in helping broker a deal that secretly conceals art deals by President Joe Biden’s son.
Paintings by Hunter Biden are expected to fetch up to $500,000 (£360,000) each at auction this fall. The president’s spokeswoman said “reasonable safeguards” had been applied to the upcoming sale.
But a former White House chief of ethics said the settlement was “very disappointing”. The younger Biden’s business dealings in Ukraine, China and elsewhere have often been held up by Republican critics as a conflict of interest for his father.
Hunter is currently facing a federal tax investigation, although he has said he is “100% certain” that he will be acquitted.
When asked Friday about the White House’s reported role in art sales, press secretary Jen Psaki said, “After careful consideration, a system has been put in place that will allow Hunter Biden to operate in his profession within reasonable guarantees.
” he has the right to pursue an artistic career, just as every child of a president has the right to pursue a career.
” As part of the agreement, the buyers must remain anonymous to Hunter Biden – who is a self-taught artist – to prevent influential salespeople from gaining favor with the US president “I think it would be challenging for an anonymous person we don’t know and who Hunter Biden doesn’t know has influence,” said Ms. Psaki But Walter Shaub, who served as chief of ethics under President Barack Obama, rejected the White House’s claim that the settlement would guarantee transparency.
critic of former President Donald Trump, wrote on Twitter: “So instead of disclosing who is paying outrageous amounts for Hunter Biden’s artwork so we can check whether the buyers are allowed access to the government, the [White House ] tried to make sure we’ll never know who they are.
“That’s very disappointing.” Hunter’s first solo exhibition and auction will take place in October at the George Bergès Gallery in New York. The gallery describes the oil, acrylic and ink paintings as “a decidedly unique experience that has become characteristic of Biden”.
According to the dealer, smaller pieces will sell for $75,000, while the larger ones are expected to reach half a million dollars. The younger Biden, 51, published a memoir in April detailing his struggles as a crack cocaine addict.