First Son Hunter Biden facing prison on charges of dodging $1.4m in taxes

Joe Biden has denied knowing anything about son Hunter's sweetheart deals with China and Ukraine companies.

Joe Biden has denied knowing anything about son Hunter's sweetheart deals with China and Ukraine companies. Photo: Getty

The Justice Department has filed new criminal charges against President Joe Biden’s son Hunter, accusing him of failing to pay $US1.4 million ($A2.1 million) in taxes while spending millions of dollars on a lavish lifestyle.

Hunter Biden, 53, was hit with three felony and six misdemeanour tax offences, according to an indictment filed on Thursday in US District Court in Central California. He faces up to 17 years in prison if convicted.

The Justice Department said its investigation into Biden is ongoing.

“The Defendant engaged in a four-year scheme to not pay at least $US1.4 million ($A2.1 million) in self-assessed federal taxes he owed for tax years 2016 through 2019,” the indictment read.

It added that Biden had spent huge sums “on drugs, escorts and girlfriends, luxury hotels and rental properties, exotic cars, clothing, and other items of a personal nature” including more than $US70,000 ($A105,974) on drug rehabilitation.

A lawyer for Hunter Biden did not immediately reply to a request for comment, as did the White House. It is not clear when Hunter Biden would appear in court.

The indictment says Hunter Biden “earned handsomely” while serving on the boards of Burisma, a Ukrainian industrial conglomerate, and a Chinese private equity fund.

A spokesperson for Special Counsel David Weiss and a lawyer for Hunter Biden did not immediately reply for requests for comment.

Prosecutors said that between 2016 and October 2020, he received more than $US7 million ($A11 million) in total gross income.

That included almost $US2.3 million ($A3.5 million) from his position on the board of directors of Burisma between 2016 and 2019, the filing says.

Hunter Biden’s lucrative affiliation with Burisma has been the focus of years of attacks from Republican lawmakers who have accused him of leveraging his family name to make money overseas.

“The Defendant had a legal obligation to pay taxes on all his income, including income earned in Ukraine from his service on Burisma’s Board, fees generated by deal-making with the Chinese private equity fund, as well as income derived from his work as a lawyer and other sources,” the indictment said.

Pleading not guilty

Adding to Hunter Biden’s income was work for CEFC China Energy Co Ltd, a Chinese energy conglomerate.

Hunter Biden in October pleaded not guilty to charges in Delaware that he lied about his drug use while buying a handgun, in the first criminal prosecution of a sitting US president’s child.

US Special Counsel David Weiss, who is leading the probe into Hunter Biden, was appointed Delaware US attorney by former President Donald Trump.

He was made special counsel by Attorney General Merrick Garland in August.

He brought charges in Delaware against Hunter Biden after the unravelling of an earlier proposed plea deal that had called for him to plead guilty to two misdemeanour tax charges for failing to pay taxes in 2017 and 2018, an agreement that likely would have allowed him to avoid prison.

US District Judge Maryellen Noreika rejected the proposed plea deal in July, raising concerns over its legality and the scope of immunity it offered.


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