Gal Luft, the “missing” witness in the House Oversight Committee’s Biden family corruption investigation, has told The Post he is alive and living as a fugitive in an undisclosed location.
The former Israeli Defense Force colonel vanished from Cyprus last month while on bail awaiting extradition to the US on seven charges.
He denies the allegations, which include five charges relating to the Arms Export Control Act of conspiring to sell Chinese products to the United Arab Emirates, Kenya and Libya, as well as a violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act, and of making a false statement.
Luft claims he was forced to skip bail because he is the victim of a political persecution by the US to protect Joe Biden and his son Hunter, and brother Jim.
“The chances of me getting a fair trial in Washington are virtually zero,” he said in a call from an undisclosed foreign country, explaining why he skipped bail. “I had to do what I had to do.”
He will not say how he escaped Cyprus because “I don’t want to get people in trouble.”
His car was found by police abandoned near the airport.
“I was charged for a thought crime,” he says of the gun-running allegations, which date from email correspondence five years ago. “I was asked by a bona fide arms dealer, an Israeli friend, to inquire with a company I knew if they had an item and what would be the price of an item. This is where the conspiracy ended. No follow-up, no money, no brokering activity.”
He sees sinister intent in the date of the extradition order, Nov. 1, 2022, seven days before the midterm elections when the Republicans were expected to win control of the House and start investigating allegations of Biden family foreign influence peddling.
House Oversight investigators were preparing to interview him before he disappeared.
“When it was clear the Republicans are going to win the House or the Senate, all of a sudden comes [GOP Rep. James] Comer and [GOP Rep. Jim] Jordan and the game is changing. There will be questions and subpoenas and investigations [so] they [the administration] have to discredit me. I never thought of coming forward. Through 2020 I sat quiet like a fish …
“I didn’t want to get caught up in this game, but when they arrested me, I had no choice but to blow it up.”
Luft attracted the attention of House investigators on Feb. 18 when a tweet appeared on his timeline after he was detained at the Cyprus airport.
“I’ve been arrested in Cyprus on a politically motivated extradition request by the US … claiming I’m an arms dealer … I’ve never been an arms dealer.
“DOJ is trying to bury me to protect Joe, Jim and Hunter Biden.”
Info on Hunter payment
In March 2019, Luft met with four FBI officials and two DOJ prosecutors at the US Embassy in Brussels to provide information that Chinese state-controlled energy company CEFC had paid $100,000 a month to Hunter Biden and $65,000 to his uncle Jim, in exchange for their FBI connections and use of the Biden name to promote China’s Belt and Road Initiative around the world.
Luft, who had a business relationship with a nonprofit think tank associated with CEFC, also told the FBI that Hunter had an FBI mole named “One Eye” who had tipped off his CEFC business partners Patrick Ho and Ye Jianming that they were under investigation; he said CEFC officials and one other person had been named in a sealed indictment.
Ye believed “the FBI were following him when he took walks in Central Park,” says Luft.
Luft was worried he was on the indictment because Ho told him it named a “Jew.”
Soon after the tip-off from One Eye, Ye offered Hunter $1 million to be his “private counsel” and flew to China, leaving his wife, daughter, son, mother and nanny in his $50 million Central Park West penthouse.
He was detained in Shanghai three months later and disappeared.
Ho told Luft that Hunter and Jim Biden flew to Hong Kong in the fall of 2017 to meet him.
“They were behaving very suspiciously and changing phones,” says Luft. “Ye said send a million dollars and those guys will take care of you.”
The only evidence on Hunter’s laptop that he flew to Hong Kong in that period is an email receipt for a one-way first-class flight from Dulles Airport to Hong Kong on Aug. 25, 2017, with IFlyFirstClass.com.
In emails with the travel company a few days later, Hunter requested a return flight Sept. 8, 2017, from Koh Samui in Thailand to Baltimore-Washington Airport.
In Luft’s view, Ho was a “naïve … patsy” who believed Ye’s assurances that he would not be arrested if he returned to the US.
On Nov. 18, 2017, Ho flew back to the US and was arrested by the FBI on bribery and money-laundering charges.
Ho was convicted and sentenced March 25, 2019, to three years in prison, after which he was deported.
During Ho’s trial, claims Luft, prosecutors removed all reference to the Bidens from emails between Ho and Hunter associate Vuk Jeremic, who was a CEFC advisory board member, a former Serbian foreign minister and ex-president of the United Nations General Assembly.
A court transcript shows a dispute between Ho defense lawyer Edward Kim and prosecutor Dan Richenthal over whether to redact from an email the name of one of the “prominent and powerful friends” whom Ho asked Jeremic to invite to a dinner or lunch in Washington, DC, on Dec. 6, 2015.
“The name of that individual is not relevant and could introduce a political dimension to this case that we don’t think is worth dealing with,” Richenthal told the judge, who agreed to the redaction.
There is no evidence the lunch or dinner came about, but a calendar entry on Hunter’s laptop shows that he had a meeting on Dec. 7, 2015, with “CEFC Chairman Ye Jienmaing [sic] and [CEFC consultant] Scott OH” scheduled.
After Ho was convicted, Luft contacted the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York from Israel to offer a voluntary interview or “proffer” meeting.
He says DOJ officials settled on Brussels as neutral territory.
Luft has shown The Post a letter arranging the Brussels “proffer” meeting, signed March 25, 2019, by Geoffrey Berman, then the US attorney for the Southern District of New York, whose agents had arrested Ho the previous year.
“We are writing to advise you that the US Attorney’s Office for the SDNY will not arrest or cause to be arrested your client, Gal Luft, during the time that he is in Belgium between approximately Tuesday, March 26, 2019 and Monday, April 1, 2019, in connection with his attendance at meetings with this office on March 28 and 29, 2019,” writes Berman to Luft lawyer Robert Henoch.
Luft says the two assistant US attorneys who interviewed him over 18 hours in Brussels were part of the team that had prosecuted Ho: Richenthal and Catherine Ghosh, whose names also appeared on his Cypress extradition order.
Also present in Brussels, he says, were four FBI agents, at least two from the National Security Branch at FBI headquarters and one from the Baltimore field office, which has been involved in the Hunter Biden investigation run by Delaware US Attorney David Weiss since 2018.
Luft told them about CEFC payments to Hunter and Jim Biden, and that Biden family associate Rob Walker was involved in distributing payments, a fact later corroborated by subpoenaed bank records released by the House Oversight Committee showing Walker funneling more than $1 million from China to at least three of President Biden’s relatives.
Luft claims everything he told US officials was “corroborated” nine months later, when the FBI subpoenaed Hunter’s laptop from a Delaware computer repair shop where he had abandoned it.
“They were sitting on all the information. No new information as needed after they had the laptop plus my proffer yet they wasted another year and did nothing so … now there is a guy who can shed light on the cover-up and they arrest him.”