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Hunter Biden tax inquiry focused on Chinese business dealings

The investigation was opened in 2018, the year before his father announced his candidacy for president, according to a source familiar with the inquiry.
Image: Vice President Joe Biden waves as he arrives in Beijing with his granddaughter, Finnegan, and son, Hunter, on Dec. 4, 2013.
Vice President Joe Biden arrives in Beijing with his granddaughter Finnegan and son Hunter on Dec. 4, 2013.Ng Han Guan / Getty Images file

Federal authorities investigating Hunter Biden's taxes are examining his business dealings in China, according to a source familiar with the inquiry.

The investigation, which Hunter Biden announced Wednesday, was opened in 2018, the year before his father announced his candidacy for president, the source said. The inquiry was already in motion when William Barr was appointed attorney general.

Hunter Biden joined the board of directors at a Chinese investment company in 2013, when his father was vice president. Facing intensifying attacks from President Donald Trump and his allies during the presidential campaign, Hunter Biden announced in October 2019 that he planned to step down from the board at the end of the month.

At the time, his attorney, George Mesires, wrote that Hunter Biden worked as an unpaid board member for BHR Equity Investment Fund Management Co. "based on his interest in seeking ways to bring Chinese capital to international markets."

"To date, Hunter has not received any compensation for being on BHR's board of directors," Mesires said. "He has not received any return on his investment; there have been no distributions to BHR shareholders since Hunter obtained his equity interest."

The Biden team declined to comment on the revelation that the federal investigation was focused on Hunter Biden's dealings in China. The Justice Department also declined to comment.

In a statement released Wednesday, Hunter Biden said: "I take this matter very seriously but I am confident that a professional and objective review of these matters will demonstrate that I handled my affairs legally and appropriately, including with the benefit of professional tax advisors."

Biden, President-elect Joe Biden's eldest son, was a target of relentless attacks during the campaign. Trump and his allies alleged that Hunter Biden used his father's influence to enrich himself through business deals in Ukraine and China.

Hunter Biden's dealings in both countries drew scrutiny throughout the campaign, but no evidence has emerged showing that he or his father engaged in any wrongdoing.

Hunter Biden pledged last year that he would not work for any foreign-owned companies if his father won the presidency.