On the 16th of February, Dr. Gal Luft, a retired Lieutenant Colonel of the Israel Defense Forces, was apprehended at the airport in Cyprus just as he was preparing to board a flight back to his home country. A mere three days following his arrest, Luft made an astonishing revelation via his Twitter account. In his tweet, he proclaimed: “I’ve been arrested in Cyprus on a politically motivated extradition request by the U.S. The U.S, claiming I’m an arms dealer. It would be funny if it weren’t tragic. I’ve never been an arms dealer. DOJ [Department of Justice] is trying to bury me to protect Joe, Jim and Hunter Biden. Shall I name names?”
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Luft’s depiction of the charges brought against him holds true. Additionally, he stands accused of deceiving the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and breaching the regulations of the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA). Should he be found guilty of the offenses stated in his arrest warrant, he could potentially be sentenced to a maximum of 96 years of imprisonment.
Clearly, the offenses with which he is charged hold great gravity and demand thorough scrutiny. If he is found culpable, he should face appropriate sanctions in accordance with the legal framework of the United States.
However, prior to the commencement of Luft’s extradition process, his claim must also be subject to investigation.
Luft’s tenure in the IDF spanned a period of 15 years, during which he concluded his active duty after fulfilling the role of an artillery battalion commander. Subsequently, he relocated to Washington to pursue studies at the prestigious Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies. There, he successfully earned a Ph.D. in the field of international security under the esteemed guidance of Professor Eliot Cohen.
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Upon the completion of his studies in the early 2000s, Luft embarked on establishing a think tank known as the Institute for Analysis of Global Security (IAGS). The primary focus of this organization was to foster the advancement and advocacy for substituting conventional fossil fuels, including oil, with sustainable and eco-friendly alternatives. Remarkably, the IAGS served as a rare platform that united environmentalists on the progressive side, concerned about climate change, and security-minded individuals on the conservative side, concerned about the United States’ reliance on oil producers in the Middle East. Notably, the IAGS board of directors was led by prominent figures such as Jim Woolsey, a former CIA director during Bill Clinton’s presidency, and Robert McFarlane, a former national security advisor during Ronald Reagan’s administration. Luft’s engagement with the IAGS extended beyond the borders of the United States, encompassing collaborative efforts in numerous countries.
In 2014, the China Energy Fund Committee-USA (CEFC-USA) was officially registered as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Virginia. It functioned as the philanthropic branch of the Chinese energy conglomerate CEFC China. As detailed in a New York Times article from 2018 that profiled CEFC China, the founder and chairman of the conglomerate, Ye Jianming, had made securing “access to influential circles in Washington” a key objective.
CEFC-USA seemingly operated as a non-profit lobbying entity to establish connections with high-ranking U.S. officials and bring them into the company’s sphere of influence. According to the aforementioned Times report, CEFC-USA made notable contributions, such as a sum of up to $100,000 to the Clinton Foundation and “at least $500,000 to a Columbia University research center.” Additionally, it provided a financial grant of $350,000 to the IAGS. Luft’s associates have attested that during this period, the U.S. Department of Energy engaged CEFC-USA for a project focused on clean coal technologies.
According to individuals closely associated with Luft, between 2015 and 2018, he collaborated extensively with CEFC-USA, organizing conferences across the United States, Hong Kong, and China. Throughout this time, Luft forged strong personal connections with several high-ranking officials within the organization. Concurrently, CEFC-China began an ardent pursuit of establishing ties with the Biden family. As reported by The New York Times, Ye and his deputy, Patrick Ho, commenced their efforts to establish connections with the Bidens in 2015, during Joe Biden’s tenure as vice president.
“An aide to Mr. Ye met the vice president’s son, Hunter Biden in Washington. Mr. Ye then met privately with Hunter Biden at a hotel in Miami in May 2017. … Mr. Ye proposed a partnership to invest in American infrastructure and energy deals … ,” the Times reported.
Even back then, it was clear that CEFC was strongly linked to both the Chinese regime and the Chinese military intelligence complex. As the Times noted, CEFC “hired a large number of former [Chinese] military officers … [Ye] was deputy secretary of a Chinese military organization from 2003-2005 that congressional researchers called a front for the People’s Liberation Army unit that has ‘dual roles of intelligence collection and conducting People’s Republic of China propaganda.’ ”
In September 2020, just prior to the U.S. presidential elections, the New York Post broke a significant story concerning Hunter Biden’s neglected laptop, which had been left behind at a computer repair store in Delaware. This laptop unveiled a complex network of international influence-peddling activities involving the Biden family. The extensive documented connections between the family and CEFC were abundantly evident. According to the laptop’s records, the Biden family initiated their relationship with CEFC in 2015. In May 2017, in collaboration with American financier Tony Bobulinski, the Bidens established Sinohawk Holdings as a vehicle for their partnership with CEFC. A financial agreement was reached whereby CEFC pledged to provide $5 million to Sinohawk and gifted an additional $5 million directly to the Biden family.
Subsequently, when the Biden campaign enlisted the support of approximately 50 former U.S. intelligence officials who vehemently claimed that the laptop was a fabrication, allegedly the result of Russian disinformation, Bobulinski came forward to present his account of events.
During an interview with Fox News host Tucker Carlson, Bobulinski, a former naval officer, revealed how the Biden family involved him in their dealings with CEFC. While Bobulinski harbored concerns about CEFC’s ties to the Chinese government, the Bidens appeared less apprehensive, as they believed that by concealing their connections with CEFC through corporate entities, they could maintain “plausible deniability” regarding their awareness of the company’s activities that might pose national security concerns.
CEFC’s operations within the United States abruptly concluded towards the end of 2017. As Bobulinski disclosed to Carlson in July of that year, CEFC’s executive director Zhang Zu happened to be in Moscow at the same time Chinese President Xi Jinping was meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin. During this visit, Russia’s state-owned oil company, Rosneft, leaked information indicating that CEFC had agreed to acquire a 14% stake in Rosneft for a staggering sum of $9 billion. It is noteworthy that Rosneft was subject to U.S. sanctions at the time.
Soon after, Zhang’s visa to the United States was swiftly revoked. Although CEFC was expected to transfer its funds to Sinohawk in May, the payments failed to materialize. The formal signing of CEFC’s agreement with Rosneft took place in September 2017.
According to Bobulinski’s account to Carlson, in October 2017, he inquired with Hunter Biden about whether the Bidens had started to bypass their arrangement with Bobulinski, and if Hunter was engaged in a “parallel discussion” with the Chinese firm. In response, Hunter Biden stated that Ye had engaged his services as a personal attorney.
In November 2017, Patrick Ho, Ye’s deputy, was apprehended by federal agents on charges of corruption. Remarkably, the first person he contacted after his arrest was Jim Biden, President Biden’s brother.
In a report published last year, The Washington Post revealed that while the Sinohawk deal did not progress, the Bidens received $4.8 million from CNEC over a period of 14 months commencing in August 2017. The Post detailed, “During the summer of 2017, Hunter Biden received a request from Ye that hinted at potential future troubles for CEFC. Ye conveyed concerns that a prominent associate of CEFC, Patrick Ho, might be under investigation by U.S. law enforcement and sought Hunter Biden’s assistance. Hunter Biden acknowledged to the New Yorker that he agreed to represent Ho and ascertain if he was indeed the subject of scrutiny by law enforcement.”
‘The timing is critical’
This brings us back to Luft’s involvement.
In March 2019, Luft and his legal representative, Robert Henoch, convened with FBI officials and Department of Justice personnel in Brussels. According to a source connected to Luft, he shared information that had been disclosed to him by CEFC officials during his tenure with them. Henoch stated, “Dr. Luft learned explosive information that someone was selling sealed U.S. law enforcement information to Chinese individuals.”
Individuals close to Luft assert that during his meeting with federal officials in Brussels, he disclosed that a former high-ranking FBI or DOJ official, referred to as “One-Eye,” had struck a deal with the Biden family. In this arrangement, “One-Eye” purportedly agreed to receive payment in exchange for transferring classified information to a member of the Biden family, who then passed it on to Ye. Luft’s associates claim that the information relayed to Ye included the revelation of the FBI’s investigation into Ye and CEFC, with plans to apprehend Ye.
According to Luft’s associates, when federal agents arrived at Ye’s residence in New York for an interview following Ho’s arrest, they discovered that Ye had already departed from the United States, returning to China, leaving Ho to shoulder the blame as the scapegoat. Luft’s associates allege that Luft informed the federal investigators that Ye had managed to evade arrest due to being tipped off by “the Bidens.”
Approximately six weeks after Luft’s encounter with the federal agents in Brussels, Biden officially declared his candidacy for the presidency. In December 2019, the FBI obtained a copy of Hunter Biden’s laptop. The authenticity of the laptop’s contents was subsequently verified by Bobulinski in October 2020.
Luft’s associates contend that despite assurances from the investigators regarding their intention to pursue his allegations, Luft never received any further communication from them.
During the congressional campaign in 2022, the Republican party made a commitment to investigate the allegations surrounding Biden and his family that stemmed from Hunter Biden’s laptop. On November 1, 2022, an arrest warrant against Luft was issued by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
Henoch elaborates, “The timing is critical. Dr. Luft gave information about corruption at the highest levels of the U.S. government in 2019. Nothing happened. Instead, four years later, the government issued a warrant for Dr. Luft’s arrest. It is clear Dr. Luft is being punished for the information that he gave to the DOJ as opposed to the DOJ investigating the information Dr. Luft provided. Dr. Luft is a whistleblower, and he is being punished for it.”
Representative James Comer (R-Ky.), who serves as the chairman of the House Oversight Committee responsible for probing the allegations arising from the Hunter Biden laptop scandal, referred to Luft as “the straw that broke the camel’s back.” During an interview with Maria Bartiromo on Fox News on March 2, Comer revealed that following news of Luft’s arrest, “we’ve had three individuals involved in questionable business dealings with Hunter Biden reach out to my committee staff.”
Comer further remarked, “I think that people see the heavy-handedness of the Bidens. Either you’re getting picked up by the DOJ or you’re getting a letter from Hunter Biden’s personal attorney trying to intimidate you.”
One of the aspects of Luft’s arrest that raises suspicions and bolsters his claim that his arrest and extradition request are politically motivated is the fact that he was apprehended in Cyprus just as he was preparing to return to Israel. Despite the existence of a cooperative agreement and relationship between the government and the Israeli Ministry of Justice and state prosecution, the arrest warrant was not communicated to Israel. Consequently, Israeli officials could have apprehended and investigated Luft at any given time.
As per Henoch and other sources closely associated with Luft, following his arrest, U.S. Ambassador to Cyprus Julie Fischer has engaged in two meetings with Cyprus’s defense minister, as well as with the Cypriot foreign minister and president. Henoch holds the belief that Fischer is exerting pressure on the Cypriot government and judiciary to prevent Luft’s release on bail.
Approximately two weeks ago, a Cypriot judge granted Luft bail; however, during the process of arranging the payment, the U.S. embassy filed an appeal. Luft is scheduled for another hearing in early April. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) held a meeting this week with the Cypriot ambassador to Washington. Despite Henoch’s notification to the U.S. embassy that Luft has secured legal representation and should not be subjected to questioning without Henoch’s presence, Henoch alleges that embassy officials made three attempts to interrogate Luft.
Undeniably, the charges levied against Luft are grave and necessitate thorough investigation. Henoch has already consented to Luft being examined by Israeli or U.S. authorities within Israel.
From the circumstances surrounding Luft’s arrest, two significant implications emerge. Firstly, Comer informed Bartiromo that his committee had prior knowledge of Luft and had intended to conduct an inquiry with him. Should Luft be extradited, he would be beyond the reach of congressional investigators. However, if he is transferred to Israel while the extradition request is being adjudicated, it would enable him to testify remotely before Comer’s committee.
Secondly, similar to the concerns of congressional investigators, the Israeli government should also harbor apprehensions regarding Luft’s arrest in Cyprus. Naturally, Israel should actively pursue a comprehensive investigation into the charges leveled against its citizen. However, the government also bears the responsibility to safeguard Luft as an Israeli national and a former high-ranking IDF officer, ensuring that the arrest warrant is not politically motivated. To address this concern, Israel should request Cyprus to withdraw from the situation and transfer Luft to Israel for the purpose of investigating both the alleged crimes he is charged with and the U.S. extradition request.