Delaware federal prosecutors are probing Hunter Biden’s tax affairs, he announced on Wednesday.
In a statement sent out by the Biden-Harris transition, Hunter Biden said that the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Delaware told his lawyer on Tuesday that there was a federal investigation into his tax affairs.
“I take this matter very seriously but I am confident that a professional and objective review of these matters will demonstrate that I handled my affairs legally and appropriately, including with the benefit of professional tax advisors,” the younger Biden said in a statement.
The transition team said in the release that President-elect Joe Biden was proud of his son, who had survived “vicious personal attacks of recent months, only to emerge stronger.”
CNN reported that the investigation began in 2018, before Bill Barr’s arrival. Jeff Sessions served as attorney general until Nov. 7, when Matt Whitaker took over as acting attorney general.
Federal prosecutors in Delaware are working with the IRS and FBI and are issuing subpoenas in the matter, CNN reported. The probe halted before the election, per standard DOJ practice, and has picked up in the weeks since. The investigation reportedly focuses on the younger Biden’s dealings in China, and is examining whether he violated tax or money laundering laws, CNN reported.
Of particular interest to investigators, CNN reported, was a 2.8-carat diamond that Hunter received in 2017 as a gift from Chinese businessman Ye Jianming.
Hunter Biden told the New Yorker that he negotiated with Ye over a $40 million investment in a Louisiana LNG project. The two agreed on a deal.
At the same time, Hunter, an attorney, had purportedly agreed to take on an associate of Ye’s as a client. The Louisiana deal reportedly fell through after federal prosecutors indicted that client over a scheme that allegedly involved bribery on behalf of Ye’s firm. Ye was later arrested by Chinese authorities.
Joe Biden spent much of 2018 preparing to run for President. At the time, however, it wasn’t clear whether the former vice president would take the leap.
Even then, reports suggested that Trump feared Biden as a potential 2020 opponent. And, towards the end of the year, Biden’s preparations became clearer, as he toured the country amid the standard speculation about his electability.
In both cases, the younger Biden appears to have earned money from foreign dealings, though information about both sets of dealings has been in the public domain for years.
The search for information on Hunter that would also impugn his father led Trump and his attorney Rudy Giuliani from Washington to Ukraine, resulting in Trump’s impeachment after he tried to extort Kyiv into manufacturing dirt on Hunter in exchange for military aid.
In October, the New York Post began to publish emails supposedly taken from Hunter’s laptop. That dubious story was facilitated by Giuliani and 2016 Trump campaign chairman Steve Bannon.
Five days before the election, the right-wing Sinclair Broadcast Group reported that there was a still-active federal criminal investigtion of Hunter Biden.
“A justice department official has confirmed to Sinclair Broadcast Group that the FBI opened up a criminal investigation into Hunter Biden and his associates back in 2019, focused on allegations of money-laundering and that the probe remains active,” the article read.
All of this was in service of a long-debunked claim that never made any sense to people involved or present at the time: that Joe Biden abused his authority as vice president to fire a Ukrainian prosecutor in order to protect his son, who was serving on the board of a Ukrainian gas company.
The problem for Trumpworld has been that there was no evidence the prosecutor was investigating anything at all. Biden, along with a chorus of Ukraine’s western backers, demanded the prosecutors’ resignation largely because he was failing to investigate and prosecute corruption.
But Hunter has been an easy target for GOP opposition researchers. At Burisma, the Ukrainian gas company, Hunter received a salary of $600,000 per year.
Hunter has also been involved in a fund meant to invest in Chinese businesses, in which he reportedly purchased a 10 percent stake.
In both cases, the younger Biden appears to have earned money from foreign dealings, though information about both has been in the public domain for years.
Hunter Biden’s personal turmoil has been well documented.
The younger Biden spent part of 2019 in litigation over the paternity of a child that he was eventually found to have fathered with an Arkansas stripper. That came after he returned a rental car in Arizona in 2016 in which an attendant found a crack pipe and ID card for Beau Biden, according to the New Yorker.
The younger Biden entered rehab. After Hunter emerged from rehab, the Bidens publicly acknowledged that he was in a relationship with the widow of his brother Beau. In December 2016, Hunter’s longtime wife Kathleen divorced him.
The revelation also comes after various legislative and law enforcement bodies have spent years trying to investigate President Trump’s tax affairs.
In the case of Congress, House panels have spent nearly two years in litigation over obtaining various elements of the President’s financial records. The New York attorney general may end up arguing for access to Trump’s tax returns twice before the Supreme Court.