The Hunter Biden federal tax investigation is picking up steam, The Wall Street Journal reports, as prosecutors collect information about his foreign income sources and business relationships.
Citing sources familiar with the matter, WSJ reports that prosecutors from the U.S. attorney's office in Delaware have sought information and grand-jury testimony in recent weeks about how President Joe Biden's son used the money from his board position with Ukrainian natural-gas company Burisma Holdings Ltd. to pay off some of his obligations.
Prosecutors last month questioned at least one other Hunter Biden associate at length, about his drug and alcohol use, spending habits and state of mind in 2018, according to WSJ.
According to former federal tax prosecutor Matt Mueller, of law firm Fogarty Mueller Harris, prosecutors will frequently try to get such testimony on the record before the defense has a chance to frame it more favorably at trial.
"It doesn't necessarily mean an indictment is imminent, but it is indicative of trying to lock in testimony with an eye towards a potential trial someday," Mueller told WSJ.
Mueller is not involved in the investigation.
As part of their expansive investigation into Biden's business dealings, prosecutors have called several of his associates and other witnesses within the past year to testify before the grand jury.
According to WSJ's sources, prosecutors are probing whether he violated tax laws and other laws, including those regulating lobbying for foreign governments, through his business dealings in Ukraine, China and Kazakhstan, among others.
Between 2014 and 2019, Hunter Biden sat on Burisma's board, for which he was paid approximately $50,000 a month.
Prosecutors have honed in on the payments from Burisma, which first went to a company called Rosemont Seneca Bohai LLC before going to Biden, WSJ reports.
Biden said his tax matters were under federal investigation in December 2020, adding that he was "confident that a professional and objective review of these matters will demonstrate that I handled my affairs legally and appropriately."
In October 2020, the New York Post reported on the contents of Hunter Biden's laptop that he abandoned at a Delaware repair shop in April 2019.
The laptop's hard drive contained emails, text messages, photos, and financial documents connecting Hunter Biden, his family, and business associates and detailed how the president's son used his political leverage in his overseas business dealings.
The New York Times reports that Hunter Biden told associates in recent months that he paid his federal tax debt off, allegedly telling one associate that the tax burden was more than $1 million, and that he had to take out a loan to pay it off.
Blue Star Strategies — a consulting firm Burisma hired — requested a State Department meeting in early 2016 using Hunter Biden's name, mentioning him again during the meeting in an effort to improve Burisma's image in Washington, WSJ reported in 2019.
Biden's business affairs in China, which included a stake in a Shanghai private-equity firm and a now-ended partnership with an oil magnate, have also been of interest to prosecutors, according to WSJ.
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