Hunter Biden Tax Probe Examining Chinese Business Dealings

WASHINGTON (AP) -
In this Nov. 7, 2020, file photo, Biden, right, embraces his son Hunter Biden and Hunter’s baby son, left, in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Pool)

The Justice Department is investigating the finances of Joe Biden’s son, including scrutinizing some of his Chinese business dealings and other transactions, a person familiar with the matter told The Associated Press.

The revelations put a renewed spotlight on questions about Hunter Biden’s financial history, which dogged his father’s successful White House campaign and were a frequent target of President Donald Trump and his allies.

The tax investigation was launched in 2018, the year before the elder Biden announced his candidacy for president. Hunter Biden confirmed the existence of the investigation on Wednesday, saying he learned about it for the first time the previous day.

“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,” he said in a statement.

It is unclear which entities or business dealings might be tied up in the probe, though the person with knowledge of the matter said at least some of focus was on his past work in China. Federal investigators served a round of subpoenas on Tuesday, including one for Hunter Biden, according to another person familiar with the investigation.

Investigators did not reach out until recently because of Justice Department practice against taking overt investigative actions in the run-up to an election, one of the people said. The people familiar with the investigation insisted on anonymity to discuss an ongoing probe.

Hunter Biden has a history of international affairs and business dealings in a number of countries. Trump and his allies have accused him of profiting off his political connections and have raised unsubstantiated charges of corruption related to his work in Ukraine at the time his father was vice president and leading the Obama administration’s dealings with the Eastern European nation.

The revelations could also add weight to Trump’s broad accusations that Biden was weak on China. Trump took a tough line on China during the campaign as he tried to deflect blame for the coronavirus. Biden has rejected the characterization that he was weak and said that, unlike Trump, he would rebuild global coalitions to check China’s power.

Hunter Biden has been caught up in controversies before. He joined the board of Ukrainian energy company Burisma in 2014, sparking concerns about the perceptions of a conflict of interest given the elder Biden was deeply involved in U.S. policy toward Ukraine. An investigation by the Republican-led Senate did not identify any policies that were directly affected by Hunter Biden’s work.

In the weeks before the election, Trump supporters used the existence of a laptop they said was connected to Hunter Biden — and the emergence of someone who maintains he had business discussions with him — to raise questions about Joe Biden’s knowledge of his son’s activities in Ukraine and China.

The laptop surfaced publicly in October when The New York Post reported on emails that it said had come from Hunter Biden’s laptop and that it said it received from Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer.

A third person familiar with the matter said the tax investigation does not have anything to do with the laptop.

In a CNN interview last week, Biden addressed the business dealings of his brothers and his son Hunter, pledging that they would avoid any perceived conflicts of interest during his time in office.

“My son, my family will not be involved in any business, any enterprise that is in conflict with or appears to be in conflict, where there’s appropriate distance from the presidency and government,” Biden said.