Hunter Biden charged over alleged scheme to avoid $1.4m tax bill

Indictment comes after President Joe Biden’s son last month pleaded not guilty to three firearms-related charges.

Hunter Biden
Hunter Biden last month pleaded not guilty to three firearms-related charges [File: Patrick Semansky/AP Photo]

Hunter Biden, United States President Joe Biden’s son, has been charged with nine counts of tax-related crimes over his alleged failure to pay $1.4m he owes to the government.

Biden is accused of failing to file and pay taxes, evading tax assessment, and making a false or fraudulent tax return while spending millions of dollars on “an extravagant lifestyle”, according to documents filed in a Los Angeles court on Thursday.

“The Defendant engaged in a four-year scheme to not pay at least $1.4 million in self-assessed federal taxes he owed for tax years 2016 through 2019,” the indictment filed in a US district court in central California said.

Biden faces a maximum penalty of 17 years in prison if found guilty.

The indictment is the second criminal case brought against Biden by David Weiss, the special counsel appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland to oversee investigations into the president’s son.

Weiss was nominated as a US attorney in Delaware by former President Trump but remained in his role after the election of Joe Biden.

Last month, Hunter Biden pleaded not guilty to three firearms-related charges after a judge declined to sign off on a plea deal that would have avoided lengthy legal proceedings.

Under the deal reached with Weiss’s office in Delaware, Biden had agreed to plead guilty to misdemeanour tax charges and enter a diversion programme in lieu of pleading guilty to a more serious gun possession charge.

On Monday, Weiss urged a federal judge to deny Hunter Biden’s request to subpoena former president Donald Trump and ex-Justice Department officials, arguing that his lawyers had not provided evidence to support their argument that the investigation stemmed from an “incessant pressure campaign” under the previous administration.

The latest criminal case could complicate President Biden’s 2024 reelection bid amid claims by Republicans that his son improperly used his father’s position to make millions of dollars through business deals and consulting work in foreign countries including Ukraine, China and Romania.

On Thursday, Republicans pushed ahead with plans to hold an impeachment inquiry into Biden as lawmakers look for evidence of wrongdoing in his family’s business dealings.

Republicans have released material that they have characterised as incriminating but have yet to provide proof of wrongdoing by the president.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies