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Hunter Biden, the eldest son of likely-to-be U.S. President-elect Joe Biden, revealed on Wednesday that the Delaware State Attorney’s Office is investigating him for tax issues, apparently related to his business in China.
Biden’s firstborn, who this year was the target of harsh attacks and accusations by Donald Trump’s election campaign, made the announcement in a brief statement issued by the President-elect’s transition team after spending months denying the accusations.
“I learned yesterday for the first time that the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Delaware advised my legal counsel, also yesterday, that they are investigating my tax affairs,” Hunter Biden said.
“I take this matter very seriously, but I am confident that a professional and objective examination of these matters will show that I handled my affairs legally and appropriately, including with the help of professional tax advisors,” he added.
Hunter Biden did not give further details on the subject, but CNN indicated that the investigation began in 2018 and that it has to do with the business of Biden’s son in China.
After his father left the U.S. vice-presidency in 2017, Hunter negotiated a contract with Chinese energy group CEFC China Energy to invest in U.S. energy products, according to documents released by Republican leaders.
One of the issues the investigators have examined, according to inside sources cited by CNN, is the gift that the founder of that Chinese energy group, Ye Jianming, gave to Hunter in 2017: a 2.8-carat diamond (valued at about $80,000), after a meeting between the two in Miami.
In 2019, Hunter Biden explained to The New Yorker magazine that he felt uncomfortable receiving the diamond and, although he did not believe it was a bribe, he gave it to some partners. “I knew it wasn’t a good idea to keep it,” he defended at the time.
The deal that Hunter Biden was negotiating with the Chinese company never materialized, and Chinese authorities later arrested Ye, amidst accusations of corruption.
Investigators have examined whether Biden’s son properly reported his receipt of the diamond on his tax returns, according to CNN, although it is unclear whether that issue remains the focus of the investigation.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office is studying whether Hunter and his associates violated tax and money-laundering laws during their business dealings abroad, which in some cases involved people considered suspects of espionage by the FBI, according to sources consulted by the network.
Biden’s son has been a favorite political target of Trump and his entourage in recent years, and the outgoing president even asked China in late 2019 to investigate Hunter for his business with Ye.
Hunter Biden was also at the origin of the Senate impeachment of Trump, which revolved around Trump’s political pressure on Ukraine to investigate the business of Biden’s son, who worked for a Ukrainian company, Burisma, in Ukraine years ago.
The Democratic transition team said in the statement that Joe Biden is “deeply proud of his son.”