Hunter Biden subpoena seeks information on Burisma, China, other entities
Last updated 12/16/2020 at 5:16pm
A subpoena seeking documents from Hunter Biden, son of Joe Biden, asked for information related to more than two dozen entities, including Ukraine gas company Burisma and Chinese business dealings and other financial transactions, according to a person familiar with a Justice Department tax investigation of Hunter Biden Saturday, Dec. 12.
CNN reported the scope of the probe, including that it is focused on China. Investigators have been examining multiple financial issues, including whether Hunter Biden and his associates violated tax and money laundering laws in business dealings in foreign countries, principally China, according to two people briefed on the probe.
The investigation began as early as 2018, predating the arrival of William Barr as U.S. attorney general, two people briefed on the investigation said. The existence of the probe will present an immediate test of Joe Biden’s promise to maintain the independence of the Justice Department.
The breadth of the subpoena, issued Tuesday, Dec. 8, underscores the wide-angle lens prosecutors are taking as they examine the younger Biden’s finances and international business ventures.
Hunter Biden’s ties to Burisma in particular have long dogged the policy work and political aspirations of his father, Joe Biden.
The person was not authorized to discuss an ongoing investigation publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
A lawyer for the younger Biden, George Mesires, did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment for this story and a representative for the Biden transition team declined to comment.
Hunter Biden confirmed Wednesday, Dec. 9, that his taxes are under federal investigation. The revelation comes at a delicate time for the president-elect, who is building out his Cabinet and will soon decide on his nominee to run the Justice Department, the same department overseeing the investigation into his son.
At one point in the investigation, federal prosecutors were also examining potential money laundering offenses, two people familiar with the matter told the AP.
The younger Biden joined the board of Burisma in 2014, around the time his father, then vice president, was helping conduct the Obama administration’s foreign policy with Ukraine. President Donald Trump and his allies have long argued that Hunter Biden’s work in Ukraine influenced the Obama administration's policies toward the Eastern European nation.
Senate Republicans said in a report earlier this year that the appointment may have posed a conflict of interest. A video of Joe Biden surfaced where he was speaking to the Council of Foreign Relations and bragging that he got a Ukraine investigator fired who was looking into Barisma’s suspected crimes, using the quid pro quo of a billion dollar U.S.-backed loan.
Joe Biden is not presently believed to be a focus of the investigation. He has not weighed in on the merits of the investigation, saying only to reporters Friday that he was “proud of my son.”
For months, the U.S. attorney’s office in Pittsburgh has also been collecting information from Trump’s attorney, Rudy Giuliani, and others as part of the Justice Department’s process to receive and analyze information related to Ukraine, including documents Giuliani wanted to present to prosecutors that he had been gathering in Ukraine about Joe and Hunter Biden.
In announcing that process in February, Barr cautioned that the department had to be careful about any information coming from Ukraine, saying: “There are a lot of agendas in the Ukraine, a lot of cross currents. And we can’t take anything we received from Ukraine at face value.”
The former New York City mayor was a main character when the House voted to impeach Trump. The impeachment inquiry centered on Trump’s dealings with Ukraine’s president and whether he abused his office by seeking the investigation into the Bidens. Giuliani pressured officials to do the investigations and has been pushing unsubstantiated corruption allegations against the Bidens.
Giuliani himself had also been under federal investigation, with federal prosecutors in Manhattan examining whether he failed to register as a foreign agent, according to people familiar with the matter. Giuliani claimed those allegations were unfounded and that, as the president’s personal attorney, it was his responsibility to investigate the matter for his client. It was unclear whether that investigation remains active as Trump has discussed the possibility of preemptive pardons for some of his family members and close associates, including Giuliani.