Fact check: False claim that Joe and Hunter Biden pictured golfing with Burisma CEO

McKenzie Sadeghi, USA TODAY

The claim: Image shows Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden golfing with the CEO of Burisma

A viral image posted to Facebook claims to show Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden with the CEO of Burisma, Ukraine’s largest gas company. The post also claims that Joe Biden denied every meeting with the energy company head.

The claim follows the former vice president's 60 Minutes interview and a story from The New York Post on alleged contents of a hard drive purporting to show the Ukrainian and Chinese business activities of Hunter Biden.

"So…On 60 Minutes, Joe said he never met with Hunter and the Burisma CEO. Well, here he is with both…"reads an Oct. 28 Facebook post that has been shared over 900 times.

USA TODAY reached out to the user for comment.

The image showing the Bidens golfing with two others in the Hamptons first appeared last September on "Tucker Carlson Tonight."

The claim likely originated shortly after when President Donald Trump tweeted in October 2019 that the image showed the Bidens playing golf with the "company boss."

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Who is in the photo?

No person pictured in the photo is a current or former CEO of Burisma and the photo dates back to 2014, when Joe Biden was vice president, Fox News reported.

The man on the very left of the image is Devon Archer, a former longtime business partner of Hunter Biden and the man to the right of Archer is Ralph Pascucci, founder of New York investment banking firm Netrex Capital Markets LLC.

Headshots of Pasucci and Archer reveal they are the people in the photograph next to the Bidens.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Hunter Biden and Archer both joined Burisma's board of directors in early 2014.

Archer, a former senior adviser for John Kerry's presidential campaign in 2004, joined Hunter in 2008 in a string of investment and consulting firms, according to PolitiFact.

Archer and Hunter Biden served as managing partners at Rosemont Seneca Partners, and Archer was also co-founder of private-equity firm Rosemont Capital with his college roommate at Yale University, Newsweek reported

Burisma was founded by Mykola Zlochevsky in 2002, according to Reuters, and the current CEO is Taras Burdeinyi. Neither are pictured in the image as photos of Zlochevsky and Burdeinyi show that they do not resemble the two men standing next to the Bidens.

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Biden did not discuss Burisma on '60 Minutes'

During Biden's recent 60 Minutes interview with vice-presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris, he spoke about his tax plan, the COVID-19 pandemic and the Supreme Court, among other topics.

When questioned about the Hunter Biden allegations, Joe Biden called it a "smear campaign" because Trump "has nothing he wants to talk about."

However, Joe Biden did not go into detail about the allegations nor did he discuss anything regarding Burisma, according to a transcript of the interview.

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Unfounded allegations

Unfounded allegations surrounding Hunter Biden's role in Burisma Holdings have continued to circulate on social media, such as the claim that Joe Biden threatened to withhold $1 billion from Ukraine to assist Hunter, a claim that already has been debunked by USA TODAY.

The former vice president did leverage $1 billion in aid to persuade Ukraine into ousting Viktor Shokin, its top prosecutor, however, that was because Shokin wasn't pursuing corruption among Ukraine's top politicians, not because he was investigating Burisma.

At the time Joe Biden called for Shokin's removal, Burisma Holdings was not under any scrutiny, and Hunter Biden was not the subject of the investigation, USA TODAY reported.

A report by Senate Republicans found no wrongdoing when investigating allegations that Biden misused his office as vice president to assist his son, according to The Associated Press.

USA TODAY has also fact-checked the unproven allegation that Hunter Biden received $3.5 million from the wife of the former mayor of Moscow, which stems from an 87-page report by the Republican majority on the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

The claim has been denied by Hunter Biden's lawyer, George Mesires, and the source of the report is linked to a confidential document that lacks detail and elaboration.

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Our rating: False

The golf course photo does not show Joe and Hunter Biden with the CEO of Burisma Holdings. The image shows Devon Archer, a Burisma board member, and Ralph Pascucci, founder of Netrex Capital Markets LLC. Neither of them currently serve, or previously served, as CEO of Burisma. Joe Biden also did not discuss Burisma during his 60 Minutes interview, contrary to a caption on the photograph posted to Facebook. We rate this claim as FALSE, because it was not supported by our research.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: False claim that Bidens pictured golfing with Burisma CEO