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Hunter Biden charged with evading $1.4m in taxes ‘to spend on cars, drugs and prostitutes’

Hunter Biden was hit with three felony and six misdemeanour tax offences
Hunter Biden was hit with three felony and six misdemeanour tax offences - Saul Loeb/GETTY IMAGES

Hunter Biden has been charged with evading $1.4 million (£1.1 million) in tax to spend on prostitutes, sports cars and hotels for “constant partying”.

Mr Biden, the son of the US president, faces up to 17 years in prison if convicted.

The Department of Justice filed new criminal charges on Thursday against the 53-year-old, including three felony and six misdemeanour tax offences, according to an indictment filed in the US District Court in central California.

The indictment read: “The defendant engaged in a four-year scheme to not pay at least $1.4 million (£1.1 million) in self-assessed federal taxes he owed for tax years 2016 through 2019.”

It added that he had instead spent huge sums “on drugs, escorts and girlfriends, luxury hotels and rental properties, exotic cars, clothing, and other items of a personal nature” including over $70,000 (£55.920) on drug rehabilitation.

The cases against his son are hugely embarrassing for Joe Biden as he heads into an election year
The cases against his son are hugely embarrassing for Joe Biden as he heads into an election year - GETTY IMAGES

The indictment comes as Republicans in Congress are pushing for an impeachment inquiry into his father, Joe Biden.

The president has long been linked to his son’s discretions by Republicans, but they have yet to produce concrete evidence.

The indictment raises the prospect of Hunter facing a public trial with more damaging revelations during the presidential campaign.

Donald Trump, expected to be Mr Biden’s challenger for the White House, also fails multiple trials while on the campaign.

Many of the alleged crimes occurred while Mr Biden’s father was US vice-president in the administration of Barack Obama.

Prosecutors say Mr Biden’s memoir, Beautiful Things, corroborates the charges in the indictment.

The hotels cited in the 56-page charge sheet correspond with the “very same hotels that the defendant identified, by name, in his memoir as the locations of his months-long drug and alcohol binge”, according to the indictment.

In his memoir, Mr Biden recounts staying “at the Sunset Tower, Sixty Beverly Hills, and the Hollywood Roosevelt”, as well as other California hotels. It also mentions his friends flashing “fake Rolexes” and bringing along “their stripper girlfriends”.

The indictment said: “There was no business purpose to staying at luxury hotels in Atlantic City, New York City and Los Angeles. Rather, as he described in his memoir, they were used to meet up with his then girlfriend and for constant partying.”

Out of control spending

As Mr Biden’s income increased, so did his spending, according to the filing.

In 2018 alone, the indictment read, Mr Biden “spent more than $1.8 million (£1.4 million), including approximately $772,000 (£620,000) in cash withdrawals, approximately $383,000 (£306,000) in payments to women, approximately $151,000 (£121,000) in clothing and accessories”.

The indictment added: “The defendant did not use any of these funds to pay his taxes in 2018.”

However, Abbe Lowell, Mr Biden’s lawyer, said in a statement that his client had repaid his taxes in full, accusing David Weiss, the US Special Counsel, who is leading the probe into Mr Biden, of reneging on a previous agreement, US media reported.

Lowell was quoted: “If Hunter’s last name was anything other than Biden, the charges in Delaware, and now California, would not have been brought.”

The White House declined to comment.

It was not clear when Mr Biden would appear in court.

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

Prosecutors said that between 2016 and October 2020, he received more than $7 million (£5.6 million) in total gross income.

That included nearly $2.3 million (£1.7 million) from his position on the board of directors of Burisma between 2016 and 2019, the filing says.

Mr Biden’s 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.

Drug charges

In October, he 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.

Mr Weiss was appointed US Delaware attorney by former president Donald Trump. He was made special counsel by Merrick Garland, the Attorney General, in August.

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

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

Mr Trump, the leading contender to be the Republican Party’s nominee in next year’s presidential election, said the plea deal amounted to favourable treatment for the president’s son.

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