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‘Like a son’: Former top Biden adviser with deep business ties to China spotted inside Hunter Biden gun trial

One of President Biden’s top former advisers, who has been a business partner of a wealthy Chinese businessman with multiple CCP ties for nearly a decade, appeared in the Delaware courtroom with Hunter Biden’s friends and family on Monday to support him during the jury selection process for his gun trial, Fox News Digital confirmed.

Francis ‘Fran’ Person, who served in the Obama administration as an adviser to the elder Biden and a special assistant to President Obama between 2009 and 2014, was spotted sitting with Hunter Biden’s family and friends, which included First lady Jill Biden, his sister, Ashley Biden, his wife, Melissa, among others.

Person, who was described in a 2014 Politico profile piece as the elder Biden’s ‘confidante’ and ‘like a son to Joe and me,’ according to Jill Biden, has been close friends with Hunter for over a decade and was often his point of contact in the VP office when Hunter was trying to reach his dad. The elder Biden also praised Person in the profile piece highlighting his departure from the White House to South Carolina, saying, ‘People know that he has my ear whenever he wants it.’

Less than six months after Person’s White House departure in the summer of 2014 Person helped launch Harves Global Entertainment, a Washington, D.C.-based affiliate of the China-based Harves Century Group, a multi-billion dollar real estate development firm.

Person, whose sister worked for Hunter Biden’s now-defunct Rosemont Seneca Partners firm before joining Biden’s VP office in 2014, frequently emailed with Hunter and his longtime business partner, Eric Schwerin, then-president Rosemont Seneca, about business dealings associated with Harves Entertainment and other D.C.-based Harves affiliates in 2015 and 2016. 

He also made multiple visits to the White House during that time, including attending a White House holiday reception in December 2015 with Bo Zhang, his Chinese business partner, according to visitor logs reviewed by Fox News Digital. Person previously told Fox News Digital the White House visits were ‘personal in nature’ and that he was ‘visiting with old colleagues and friends.’

Person first introduced Hunter to the Harves brand in a detailed July 2015 email inviting him to China to meet Zhang and his family, saying, ‘They are a great family with great respect and relationships in China.’ Zhang is the son of ‘Chinese billionaires,’ according to court records pertaining to an ongoing legal dispute between Zhang and a New York City designer, which alleges Zhang has failed to pay the designer over $4 million.

‘I’d like for you to get to know Bo. He’s a brilliant guy – he’s been groomed to take over his family’s dynasty, but he’s very humble. He will do great things one day, but he needs good people around him,’ Person said in the 2015 email. ‘They are very private, and wouldn’t tell anyone about you coming. Bo’s father-in-law is actually the Governor of Hainan (Chinese Hawaii), which he doesn’t advertise at all.’

Liu Cigui, a decades-long member of the CCP who has held several leadership positions over the last 15 or more years, appears to be the father-in-law Person was referring to in the email based on the timeline of the email and his leadership position. According to a recent article from the state-run China Daily media outlet, he is currently a member of the Standing Committee of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), which has been described as the ‘central part’ of China’s United Front system, which works to ‘co-opt and neutralize sources of potential opposition to the policies and authority of its ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP).’

Another one of Zhang’s CCP ties was revealed in a December 2013 Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) filing with the Justice Department, which listed Zhang as the ‘foreign principal.’ The filing noted his relationship with Chinese government official Liu Guoqiang, who was the vice chairman of the Liaoning Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).

‘This isn’t about a partnership, or selling you on anything,’ Person continued in his email to Hunter. ‘We just want to grow that relationship, and there will be plenty of big things that come down the road that we can work on.  

While it does not appear Hunter was able to visit China during the time frame Person mentioned, Hunter and Eric Schwerin met with Zhang several times over the next few years, including at their office. Fox News Digital previously reported on Hunter and Schwerin working with Zhang during Person’s failed House race in South Carolina in 2016.

While Person was running for Congress, Hunter and Zhang stayed in communication. On May 6, 2016, Hunter referred to Zhang as his ‘good friend and business colleague’ in an email, which was previously verified by Fox News Digital, to Henry Zhao, a Chinese Communist Party official and CEO of Harvest Fund Management, according to the New York Post. The Post reported that Zhao’s fund participated in a Chinese investment fund called Bohai Harvest RST, where Hunter served as a founding board member until October 2019. 

The following year, an email from Schwerin to Hunter revealed that Rosemont Seneca Advisors, which Hunter’s LLC, Owasco, has 75% ownership in, held financial interests in multiple Harves affiliates, including a 5% stake with Harves Amusement Parks and ownership in Harves Sports and Entertainment, both of which fall under Harves Group, according to 2017 emails on Hunter’s abandoned laptop.

Fran has repeatedly claimed that neither Hunter nor any of his associates ever owned equity in any Harves entity or affiliate when Fox News Digital previously pressed him on the multiple emails from Schwerin to Hunter contradicting this claim. A Washington Post fact check previously confirmed that Rosemont Seneca Advisors had ‘a 5 percent stake in Harves Amusement Parks and ownership in Harves Sports and Entertainment, both in China.’

In 2017, as Hunter was going through a rocky divorce, Person told Hunter in a WhatsApp message which was released by the House Ways and Means Committee, that he and Zhang ‘want to help’ him with expenses, Fox News Digital previously reported.

‘100K at least gets me until next month,’ Hunter said. ‘I am appreciative of whatever [Bo] was comfortable with but I’m very uncomfortable starting a war revised partnership this way.’

‘I talked to Bo previously about the 37K – he didn’t flinch. I will talk to him about 56K and possibly 100K,’ Person said, according to messages previously reviewed by Fox News Digital. ‘It really depends on his liquid assets in the US…I will ask. His only problem is getting large sums out of China (especially right now).’

The next day, Hunter asked Person if he knew whether anything was wired or if they were in a ‘holding pattern,’ prompting Person to respond, ‘No holding pattern…he was on his way to the bank this morning. He will be in touch when it’s confirmed.’ Fox News Digital could not confirm how much money Zhang wired Hunter or if the wire went through at all.

‘He will help you with what you need. He also mentioned that you should take a trip to China some time this month to just get away for a week or so…just decompress,’ Person added. An email in late August 2017 shows that Hunter was scheduled to fly first class to Hong Kong, but it is unclear whether that was related to visiting with Bo.

Another WhatsApp message from Person to Hunter alleged that Zhang offered his home for Hunter to stay in, referring to the multimillion-dollar McLean, Virginia, mansion, according to online records. Person called the six-bedroom house ‘unreal’ and revealed that Zhang ‘won’t be there much at least for another couple years.’ He added that Hunter Biden should ‘f’n stay at his house’ and that it was furnished. Fox News Digital could not confirm whether Biden took Zhang up on the offer.

In one of the earlier text exchanges, Person told Hunter Biden he ‘selfishly want[s] to work’ with him ‘because I know what the hell your capable of, AND I want to learn from you. I’m putting myself out there right now, and I’m learning quickly.’ He continued, ‘But I’d love to be there with you doing some of this stuff. I mention the 500K on 10M raise be I’m about to get started on that, and I could really use your help. We could knock it out together. I’d think that’d help take some bite out, and you wouldn’t feel like your ‘resorting’ to anything.’

‘I’ve got one loyalty brother. That’s to my family. Your family,’ Person added.

Person did not respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment on why he was in attendance at the trial. It is unclear whether he plans on attending multiple days of the trial or has been in attendance on Tuesday or Wednesday.

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