Hunter Biden, President-elect Joe Biden’s 43-year-old son, announced Wednesday that federal prosecutors in Delaware are investigating his taxes.
“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,” he said in a statement.
CNN reported that the investigation into Hunter Biden’s taxes dates back to at least 2018 and was temporarily put on hold during the election because of its politically sensitive nature.
CNN’s Evan Perez told Jake Tapper that the probe, which has since resumed, is “looking at everything from taxes to potential violations of money laundering laws.”
Hunter Biden, President-elect Joe Biden’s 43-year-old son, announced on Wednesday that his taxes are under investigation by federal prosecutors in Delaware.
“I learned yesterday for the first time that the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Delaware advised my legal counsel, also yesterday, that they are investigating my tax affairs,” the younger Biden said in a statement on Wednesday. “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 president-elect’s transition team released a statement at the same time expressing support for Hunter.
“President-elect Biden is deeply proud of his son, who has fought through difficult challenges, including the vicious personal attacks of recent months, only to emerge stronger,” the transition team said.
CNN reported that the investigation into Hunter Biden’s taxes began in 2018 and was temporarily halted because of Justice Department rules barring prosecutors from taking actions that could influence the outcome of the election.
CNN’s Evan Perez told Jake Tapper that the US attorney’s office in Delaware told prosecutors after the election that they could resume the probe and take overt investigative steps. The investigation is mainly focused on Hunter Biden and his associates, and the president-elect and other family members are not known to be involved.
That said, Wednesday’s news will likely pose a dilemma for the incoming president, who has pledged to restore independence and public trust in the US’s law enforcement and intelligence apparatus, both of which have been extraordinariliy politicized under the Trump administration.
“I’m not going to be telling them what they have to do and don’t have to do. I’m not going to be saying go prosecute A, B or C,” Biden told CNN last week. “It’s not my Justice Department. It’s the people’s Justice Department.”
Perez told Tapper that the federal investigation into Hunter Biden’s taxes is primarily related to his business dealings in China and is “looking at everything from taxes to potential violations of money laundering laws.” The New York Times reported later Wednesday evening, however, that the money laundering part of the probe did not gain traction because FBI agents were unable to uncover enough evidence to support a potential prosecution.
CNN reported that as part of their tax investigation, prosecutors are scrutinizing a 2017 meeting between Hunter Biden and a Chinese businessman after which the younger Biden went back to his hotel room and received a 2.8 karat diamond from the businessman.
Hunter Biden described the meeting in an interview last year with The New Yorker and told the magazine he was uncomfortable receiving the diamond.
“I knew it wasn’t a good idea to take it. I just felt like it was weird,” he said.
Some of the younger Biden’s meetings also raised counterintelligence concerns at the FBI, which CNN reported is a common issue when dealing with matters related to China.
President Donald Trump and his allies aggressively attacked Hunter Biden in the run-up to the election over his business dealings in Ukraine and China. Specifically, the president accused the younger Biden and, by extension, his father, of corruption related to their foreign practices.
Earlier this year, Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani was involved in coordinating the release of a widely discredited story by the New York Post about a laptop purportedly belonging to Hunter Biden and said to contain incriminating material about his business dealings and personal life. A computer repair shop owner in Delaware told reporters that the FBI seized the laptop late last year.
It’s unclear whether the laptop is relevant to the federal investigation into Hunter Biden’s taxes, and after the New York Post’s story was published, it was reported that the FBI was investigating whether the contents of the machine were part of a foreign influence operation.
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