The Claim: The Biden family owns 10% of a major Chinese lithium battery company
A new conspiracy theory claims that President Joe Biden and his family own part of one of China’s largest lithium battery companies, despite official documents disproving the claim.
“The Bidens own 10% of a Chinese lithium-ion battery company whose shares (sic) have climbed nearly 300% since Biden was ‘elected’,” Facebook read on September 6. “For anyone interested in researching the company = Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., Limited (CATL).”
The post has been shared nearly 1000 times. Other versions published online have also accumulated thousands of actions collectively.
Ahead of the 2020 election, theories claiming that Biden and his son Hunter had accepted gains from foreign countries went viral. Then-President Donald Trump frequently accused them of wrongdoing with China and Ukraine, calling for an investigation in 2019.
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But official documents show that Biden and his family have no stake in the mentioned company.
USA TODAY has contacted the poster for comment.
The Biden family is not a shareholder in a Chinese company
Contemporary Amperex Technology Company is a Chinese manufacturer of rapidly growing batteries for electric vehicles, supplying batteries to automakers such as BMW, Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz.
Shares of the company have risen more than 150% since 2020 due to increased demand for electric vehicles, Forbes reported in May.
In August, Biden signed an executive order with a goal of making half of all cars sold zero-emission by 2030. All-electric cars, which use a battery to store the electrical energy that powers the engine, are considered like zero emission vehicles. by the Department of Energy because they do not produce direct tailpipe or tailpipe emissions.
The image shared on social media offers no evidence to show that Biden or his family have a stake in CATL.
Biden and his wife, Jill, released financial disclosure forms when he ran for president in 2020, and again in 2021, and neither mention CATL.
The assets and income shown on the form include an unspecified amount from Biden’s “Promises to Keep” and “Promise Me, Dad” books, an investment fund and Jill Biden’s retirement plans, among others.
Biden’s disclosure forms between 1995 and 2015 also do not mention CATL in the assets or income sections.
Alex Baumgart, who researches personal financial data at nonprofit Open Secrets, told USA TODAY in an email that he found “no indication that the president is an investor in this Chinese company. of batteries “. Biden’s most recent tax documents also do not mention CATL.
In addition to the disclosure forms, Biden and his family are not among any of CATL’s shareholders, according to MarketScreener, a stock and financial website.
The three shareholders who own 10% or more of CATL are company chairman Yu Qun Zeng (42%), vice chairman and deputy general manager Shi Lin Huang (19%) and Chinese billionaire Zhen Hua Pei ( 12%).
The White House did not immediately respond to USA TODAY’s request for comment.
The only relationship between the Biden family and CATL appears to stem from a 2018 investment by Hunter Biden in a Chinese private equity firm.
In an investigative article into Hunter’s business activities, the Wall Street Journal reported that Hunter Biden became a shareholder in 2017 of Bohai Harvest RST Equity Investment Fund Management Co. (BHR), a private equity firm which then went on to invested in CATL.
When CATL shares jumped 44% in its first session as a listed company on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange in 2018, Hunter was among the shareholders who benefited from BHR’s investment in the company, the newspaper reported. .
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The incorrect 10% figure in the Facebook post may come from a misunderstanding of this investment. The Journal reported that in December 2020, Delaware-based Skaneateles LLC, which is controlled by Hunter Biden, owned 10% of BHR – not CATL.
Our rating: False
We are evaluating the claim that the Biden family owns 10% of a major Chinese lithium battery company, based on our research. While the White House did not immediately respond to USA TODAY’s request for comment, official disclosure forms for Biden from 2020 and his years as vice president do not mention CATL. A Wall Street Journal investigative article found that Hunter Biden benefited from the rise in CATL shares in 2018 because a company in which he was a shareholder, BHR, had invested in it. But Hunter Biden and the companies related to him do not own 10% of CATL.
Our sources of fact-checking:
- David Witter, September 5, Facebook post
- Janet Sutherland, September 7, Facebook post
- USA TODAY, October 22, 2020, “Nothing was unethical”: Joe Biden defends Hunter Biden under pressure from Trump in debate
- BBC News, April 6, Hunter Biden: What was he doing in China and Ukraine?
- NBC News, October 7, 2019, Trump is pushing an unfounded plot on the Bidens and China. This is what we know
- CATL, accessed September 22, Company Profile
- Forbes, May 3, 2021, this Chinese battery company has produced more billionaires than Google or Facebook
- USA TODAY, August 5, 2021, “No Turning Back”: Biden Signs Order to Have Half of All Vehicles Sold in the United States Zero Emissions by 2030
- Department of Energy, consulted September 22, Alternative Fuels Data Center: All-Electric vehicle
- Joe Biden, accessed September 22, 2020 Financial Disclosure Form
- White House, accessed September 22, 2021 Financial Disclosure Form
- White House, accessed September 22, 2009 Financial Disclosure Form
- White House, accessed September 22, 2010 Financial Disclosure Form
- White House, accessed September 22, 2011 Financial Disclosure Form
- White House, accessed September 22, 2012 Financial Disclosure Form
- White House, accessed September 22, 2013 Financial Disclosure Form
- White House, accessed September 22, 2014 Financial Disclosure Form
- White House, accessed September 22, 2015 Financial Disclosure Form
- Open Secrets, accessed September 23, Joseph R. Biden, Reports
- Alex Baumgart, consulted September 23, Open Secrets: “Our team”
- Open Secrets, consulted on September 23, Our vision and mission
- Alex Baumgart, September 23, email exchange with USA TODAY
- White House, accessed September 23, Joe Biden’s taxes from 2020
- Shenzhen Stock Exchange, accessed September 23, search for companies by name
- Marketscreener, accessed September 22, Contemporary Amperex Technology Co.
- Bloomberg, accessed September 22 # 156 Pei Zhenhua
- The Wall Street Journal, December 22, 2020, Hunter Biden’s last name helped strike deals with foreign tycoons
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Our fact-checking work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.