Recent reports that witnesses have begun to testify to a grand jury suggest that the federal investigation into Hunter Biden is gaining momentum and he may be in danger of being charged.
The president’s son announced back in December 2020 that his tax cases were under a federal criminal investigation, but last month’s report new York Times It turns out that prosecutors were also looking into Biden’s foreign trade deals for the past four years.
The investigation, which is being overseen by US Attorney David Weiss in Delaware, reportedly focused on Biden’s tax filings, payments and gifts received from foreign interests in China and Kazakhstan. It is also probing whether he has violated laws by failing to register as a lobbyist under the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA).
Although much of prosecutors’ activity remains confidential due to the high-stakes nature of the investigation, former federal prosecutor Michael McAuliffe pointed out newsweek That investigation appears to be very active and that there is a real possibility that Biden could face federal charges.
According to McAuliffe, the government’s investigation of Biden’s tax filing is time-consuming in nature, and he said it could take years to complete.
Based on publicly available information, Robert Weisman, president of the think tank Public Citizen, told newsweek He does not expect Biden to face federal charges for his business arrangements. However, he said it is possible that Biden could be held personally liable for tax compliance based on the investigation.
Regardless of whether charges are brought, Weisman said the president’s son “should not have entered into the arrangements.”
“These business ties don’t make much sense, except for the fact that Hunter was the son of a vice president or a potential president. It seemed unlikely that Chinese interests or Ukrainian business interests would have partnered with him, but not for that family relationship. ,” Weisman said.
Concerns over Hunter’s consulting work have been repeatedly attacked by former President Donald Trump, who linked those foreign investments to the current president, and Senate Republicans, who have released their reports into Hunter’s transactions with China.
Biden joined the board of Burma Holdings in April 2014, which is owned by Ukrainian oligarch and former politician Mykola Zlochevsky, when his father was serving as vice president.
At the time, Joe Biden was playing a major role in US policy toward Ukraine and some warned that Hunter’s behavior could undermine his father’s anti-corruption work in Eastern Europe. Hunter’s term on the board did not end until April 2019.
Hunter Biden is also a co-founder of the consultancy group Seneca Global Advisors and advisory firm Rosemont Seneca Partners, and later received thousands of dollars from a Kazakh oligarch, including the $142,000 Hunter Biden used to buy a sports car.
Several bank accounts linked to Hunter Biden have also received $4.8 million in payments from an oil and gas company affiliated with the Communist Party of China.
While none of these foreign gifts are automatically considered illegal, FARA does require those who conduct public relations or lobbying work with foreign clients. It is unclear how Hunter’s behavior should be classified and whether it is a violation of the law.
Although Hunter Biden appears to be the target of a high-profile investigation, the federal investigation is also under scrutiny. In the current “highly partisan, conspiracy-filled environment”, McAuliffe said every aspect of the investigation is being parsed for errors.
“Weiss was retained by the Biden administration to avoid the appearance that the new administration was, in essence, pulling the plug on the matter,” he said. “This is a reasonable move that should enhance the credibility of the findings of the investigation and any subsequent enforcement action.”
Weiss, who worked for the Delaware office during the Bush and Obama administrations, was nominated by former President Donald Trump to run the investigation. The Biden administration has hired him on the case in an effort to maintain confidence in the investigation.