James, brother of President Joe Biden, has abandoned a clean energy project in the UK after a White House review of potential conflicts of interest.
James Biden set up an investment vehicle in May, with a British corporate lawyer and two Argentine businessmen. But he abandoned the plan just weeks later after the White House assessed under tough new rules introduced by the Joe Biden administration. The company is now dormant.
James Biden and his wife, Sarah Jones Biden, launched 2BT, a limited liability partnership in the UK, with Red Smith partner Peter Terry. 2BT has created another vehicle, Shelbourne Partners, which aims to “explore potential investment opportunities, particularly in the clean energy sector,” according to Terry.
Weeks after Shelburne’s release, and after a White House review of James Biden’s plans, Tear said the group had abandoned the project.
The White House Counsel’s office review of James Biden’s planned UK business is part of an ethical code introduced by the new US administration and designed to draw a line between President Biden’s approach to the financial interests of his family and that of his predecessor, Donald Trump.
The new measures mean that members of President Biden’s family must discuss potential business engagements or deals with their attorneys first, then inform White House attorneys if necessary. After the White House gives its advice on moving forward, family members make the final decision. The rules are designed to ensure that the president’s family members do not conflict with the affairs of the US government.
“The president has adopted rules and ethical standards for his administration that are superior to those of any other administration in history, and they include standards for his kin,” a White House official said.
James Biden could not be reached for comment.
The White House declined to comment on the exact timing of the review of James Biden’s planned UK actions, or its conclusions. Understandably, ethics reviews by White House attorneys take time. The Financial Times contacted the White House on Friday to comment on James Biden’s business plans in the United Kingdom.
James Biden has invested in a series of business deals in the United States, including a controversial bid to buy a hedge fund model in 2006 with his nephew Hunter. 2BT was his first listing as a manager in the UK, according to Companies House filings.
In January, Joe Biden told CNN News that his family “will not be involved in any business, or any project that interferes with or appears to conflict, where there is an appropriate distance from the presidency and government.”
Shelburne is jointly owned by 2BT and International Capital Investment, another new LLP that was launched by Argentine lawyer Ricardo Nicolas Mallo Huergo and Jose Luis Manzano, a former Argentine congressman and partner of James Biden. Huergo and Manzano are respectively the general counsel and president of the Buenos Aires private equity firm, Integra Capital.
According to Huergo, the Argentines and James Biden are “old” acquaintances. Manzano served in the Argentine cabinet under President Carlos Menem and founded the media group Grupo America, the country’s second largest media company. According to Spanish media reports, James Biden attended Manzano’s wedding in 2015.
Both Argentines are already investing in conventional energy projects including oil and gas via Integra. Huergo told the Financial Times that the new project is planned to finance projects focused on the transition from fossil fuels to clean energy.