Hunter Biden indicted on tax evasion charges
LOS ANGELES - Hunter Biden was indicted late Thursday on multiple counts of tax evasion, the second time this year President Joe Biden's troubled son has been charged by a special counsel investigating his personal and business dealings.
Hunter Biden "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," special counsel David Weiss said in the 56-page indictment filed in US district court in California.
Biden was charged with nine counts of failing to file and pay taxes, tax evasion and filing false tax returns, the indictment shows.
The new charges serve up more acute embarrassment for Joe Biden as he wages an uphill battle for reelection and fends off a Republican bid to impeach him on grounds that he benefitted from his son's overseas business dealings.
The previous charges accuse the younger Biden of lying about his drug use on a federal application when he purchased a gun.
The new charges mean that Hunter Biden could in theory go on trial twice next year as his father almost certainly faces Donald Trump in the race for the presidency.
President Biden has insisted he stands by his son despite his past troubled behavior.
The new indictment says Hunter Biden earned more than $7 million from 2016 to 2020 and used this money for a freewheeling lifestyle.
"The defendant spent millions of dollars on an extravagant lifestyle at the same time he chose not to pay his taxes," the indictment states.
It added: "Between 2016 and Oct 15, 2020, the defendant spent this money on drugs, escorts and girlfriends, luxury hotels and rental properties, exotic cars, clothing, and other items of a personal nature, in short, everything but his taxes."
Hunter Biden pleaded not guilty this year to three felony charges stemming from his purchase of a.38-caliber Colt Cobra revolver in 2018 when, by his own admission, he was addicted to drugs.
He is charged with illegally possessing the handgun and two counts of making false statements for claiming on forms required for the gun purchase that he was not using drugs at the time.
Republicans have opened an impeachment inquiry in Congress into what they claim is a Biden family criminal conspiracy but have provided no evidence that the president did anything wrong.
In July, a plea bargain between Hunter Biden and prosecutor Weiss -- which would have erased the gun charges while Biden pleaded guilty to two tax charges and avoided prison -- fell apart.
Hunter Biden has not been charged with any crimes related to his foreign business dealings, despite the Republican allegations.
Hunter Biden is a Yale-trained lawyer and lobbyist-turned-artist, but his life has been marred by alcoholism and crack cocaine addiction. - AFP