A federal grand jury continued to examine evidence in a wide-ranging examination of Hunter Biden's international business dealings even after President Joe Biden's son paid off a significant tax liability, The New York Times reported.
A tax inquiry probe under the Obama administration widened in 2018 to include possible criminal violations of tax laws, as well as foreign lobbying and money laundering rules, sources told the Times.
The newspaper reported Wednesday that the federal grand jury, as recently as last month, heard testimony in Wilmington, Delaware, from two witnesses, one of whom was a former employee of Hunter Biden.
It was unclear whether the criminal probe was focused solely on Hunter Biden, or if he was among a group of individuals and companies being scrutinized, the Times said.
Sources told the newspaper that prosecutors have asked about potential Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) violations by a Washington consulting firm, Blue Star Strategies, which worked for a Ukrainian energy company in an arrangement that Hunter Biden helped broker.
Hunter Biden confirmed in December 2020 — little more than a month after his father defeated then-President Donald Trump in the presidential election — that his taxes were under federal investigation.
Less than a week later, it was reported that a subpoena seeking documents from Hunter Biden asked for information related to more than two dozen entities, including Ukraine gas company Burisma.
Prosecutors face a number of challenges in bringing criminal charges, people familiar with the investigation told the Times. The hurdles included proving that Biden intentionally violated the FARA, which requires disclosure to the Justice Department of lobbying or public relations assistance on behalf of foreign clients.
The Times added that Biden having paid his tax liability does not preclude criminal charges against him, though tax law experts said juries and judges tend to be more sympathetic to defendants who have paid their bills.
Hunter Biden told associates in recent months that he paid the federal taxes — more than $1 million — that had been the subject of scrutiny, the Times reported. He told one associate that he took out a loan to pay it off.
David C. Weiss, the U.S. attorney for Delaware, is overseeing the investigation. He was nominated to run the office by Trump, and has been permitted to remain in office until the Hunter Biden case is resolved.
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