Hunter Biden faces second federal indictment on nine tax evasion charges

Hunter Biden
Hunter Biden (Image: Reuters)

Federal prosecutors have filed tax charges against Hunter Biden, a second criminal case against the US president’s son.

The nine-count indictment says he schemed to evade at least $1.4m (£1.1m) in federal taxes from 2016-19.

The three felonies and six misdemeanours include failure to file and pay taxes, false tax return and evasion of assessment.

Mr Biden, 53, was indicted in September on federal firearm charges in Delaware.

His lawyer said on Thursday night the new charges are politically motivated.

President Joe Biden is not mentioned in the indictment and the White House has not yet commented on it.

It comes as congressional Republicans place Hunter Biden’s business dealings at the centre of an impeachment inquiry into President Biden, who is seeking re-election next year.

If convicted in the tax case, Hunter Biden could face up to 17 years in prison.

US Department of Justice Special Counsel David Weiss has been investigating the Yale-educated lawyer and recovering crack cocaine addict since 2019.

In a 56-page indictment filed in California, prosecutors allege he spent his money on “drugs, escorts and girlfriends, luxury hotels and rental properties, exotic cars, clothing, and other items of a personal nature, in short, everything but his taxes”.

They say the president’s son “individually received more than $7 million in total gross income” between 2016 and 2020, but “willfully failed to pay his 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019 taxes on time, despite having access to funds to pay some or all of these taxes”.

Hunter Biden’s attorney, Abbe Lowell, responded to the new charges by saying that “if Hunter’s last name was anything other than Biden, the charges in Delaware, and now California, would not have been brought”.

Hunter Biden eventually paid all his taxes and fines back in 2020 – with the help of a loan from his personal attorney.

A chart inside the indictment outlines what Hunter Biden spent his money on.

Between 2016-19, he paid over $188,000 for “adult entertainment” and over $683,000 on “payments – various women”, according to the charge sheet.

Hunter Biden “continued to earn handsomely and to spend wildly in 2018”, prosecutors allege.

The indictment notes he made “substantial” income, including from a company he formed with a Chinese business conglomerate, the Ukrainian energy company Burisma and an unnamed Romanian businessperson.

As his income increased, so did his expenditures on an “extravagant lifestyle”, says the indictment.

In 2018, the defendant spent more than $1.8m, including hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash withdrawals, about $383,000 in payments to women and $151,000 on clothing.

Yet that same year, Hunter Biden texted his ex-wife that he could not make his alimony payment “due to insufficient funds”.

He meanwhile stayed at various luxury hotels, spent $10,000 “to purchase a membership in a sex club” and claimed that $1,248 cross country airline tickets for an exotic dancer were a business expense, according to the indictment.

Prosecutors note that he “had sufficient funds available… to pay some or all of his outstanding taxes when they were due”, but chose not to do so.

He allegedly often wrote off personal expenses as business expenses, like a rental of a Lamborghini that he drove when he first moved to California in April 2018 until his Porsche arrived from the east coast.

Earlier this year, Hunter Biden had been expected to plead guilty to misdemeanour tax charges in a deal with prosecutors.

But that agreement fell apart after a judge questioned it as “unusual”. Congressional Republicans later slammed it as a “sweetheart deal”.

This summer, two Internal Revenue Service (IRS) whistleblowers testified to Congress that Hunter Biden should have been charged with more serious tax crimes, but alleged he received lenient treatment as the son of the president.

Gary Shapley and Joseph Ziegler said Thursday’s indictment serves as “complete vindication”.

The federal gun charges filed in September related to his being in possession of a gun while using narcotics and lying on a form about it. He pleaded not guilty.

The House of Representatives Oversight Committee is currently leading an impeachment inquiry of President Biden, claiming he was involved in an influence-peddling scheme with his son.

While congressional Republicans on the panel have produced bank statements that they argue prove Joe Biden lied when he denied benefitting from his son’s business dealings, the White House has said the entire inquiry is based on lies.

Source: bbc.co.uk

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