The United States Department of Justice filed new criminal charges this Thursday (7) against Hunter Biden, son of President Joe Biden. According to investigators, he failed to pay US$1.4 million (R$6.8 million) in taxes while maintaining a luxurious lifestyle.
Hunter received a total of nine criminal charges. If convicted, the American president’s son could face up to 17 years in prison. The investigation is still ongoing, according to authorities.
The indictment says Hunter “spent millions of dollars on an extravagant lifestyle instead of paying his tax bills.” It also claims the fraudulent scheme took place while he served on the boards of a Ukrainian industrial conglomerate and a Chinese private equity fund. The crimes would have occurred from 2016 to 2019.
The Justice Department special counsel who filed the charges, David Weiss, and Hunter’s lawyer did not respond to requests for comment from the Reuters news agency.
Hunter Biden became a defendant in September after an investigation found that he did not report that he had a drug problem, as required by law, when purchasing a revolver in 2018. It was the first time that the son of a president in office became the target of a criminal charge, in a process that was also led by Weiss. Hunter pleads not guilty.
The prosecutor was appointed to the Justice Department by former President Donald Trump and received special advisor status in August with the aim of obtaining more autonomy in investigations and shielding the government against accusations of interference.
With problems in court and considered a kind of black sheep of the Biden family, Hunter is the main target of Republicans in an attempt to weaken Joe Biden, whom they accuse of using the state structure against political opponents — especially after the lawsuits against Trump, who he leads the polls to repeat the 2020 electoral dispute with Biden in 2024.
In addition to endorsing the accusation that Hunter lied when buying a gun, the Republicans are investigating his son’s suspicious dealings with foreign companies and his father’s role in these relationships — no irregularities have been proven so far. The investigation, however, led to the opening of impeachment proceedings against Joe Biden — at the time, the then leader of the House, Kevin McCarthy, said that Congress needed more power to investigate the Biden family’s finances.
Hunter also had to appear in court in Delaware in July as part of an attempted agreement with the District Attorney’s Office. Negotiations were moving towards the president’s son pleading guilty to the crime of tax misdemeanors. In exchange, he would not be charged in the case involving the purchase of the weapon. Other conditions of the agreement were two years without new problems with the courts and submission to toxicological tests.
The judge overseeing the case, Maryellen Noreika, however, considered the terms “confusing” and “atypical”, and the agreement fell through.
The White House denies any involvement by the president in his son’s problems and says that the investigations are taking place autonomously and independently. Joe Biden has already expressed support for his son in his personal and legal battles. In an interview earlier this year, he said Hunter “did nothing wrong.” “I trust him. I have faith in him,” he said.