The son of the American president, Hunter Biden, once again attracted the attention of the media and the public, and even this time it was not a positive attention. The federal prosecutor’s office brought charges of tax crimes against him and claims in the filed indictment that instead of taxes he spent on drugs, women, luxury hotels and cars.
More specifically, California prosecutors accuse him of a total of nine counts of three felonies and six misdemeanors, including failure to file a tax return and failure to pay taxes, filing a false tax return or evading tax assessment.
The charges cover the years 2016 to 2019, and although Hunter settled the arrears in 2021 with the help of a loan from his lawyer, he could face up to 17 years in prison if convicted.
This is the second criminal case the president’s son is facing. The first came in September of this year, when a case that had dragged on for years came to a head, involving the alleged fraud that Biden Jr. allegedly committed in the purchase of a firearm in 2018.
According to charges filed in U.S. District Court in the state of Delaware, Hunter was under the influence of drugs, specifically crack cocaine, and falsely claimed he was not using any illegal drugs when filling out a form that requires buyers to report their addictions.
He then owned the purchased weapon for 11 days.
Under US law, it is a crime to lie when filling out a form and to possess a firearm while on drugs. If he is convicted on all counts, according to court documents, he faces up to 25 years in prison and a fine of up to $750,000, which is more than $17 million in crowns.
However, these are not the only problems that Biden’s son has, and Republicans in particular are trying to associate the president himself with them, who is currently running for a second term in the White House.
The fight for the White House
The number of Republicans who want to compete for the nomination in the presidential election continues to thin out. A number of candidates have already withdrawn from the race, which is still led by ex-president Donald Trump.
Many are looking at Biden Jr. through fingers, and more and more frequently questions arise as to whether his past will threaten his father’s re-candidacy. But what is the story behind this fifty-three-year-old man?
A childhood associated with tragedy
Hunter Biden was born on February 4, 1970 in Wilmington, Delaware to Joe and Neilia Biden, taking his first name from his mother’s maiden name. His father’s political career was taking off at the time, and perhaps Hunter could have remembered an idyllic childhood if not for a car accident in 1972 that deprived him of both his mother and his younger sister Naomi.
Both Hunter and his older brother Beau were injured in the accident and ended up in the hospital, where their father Joe later took the oath – right at their bedsides. He was elected to the Senate for the first time only a few weeks before the tragedy, and at the time of the accident he was setting up an office in Washington. He is said to have thought at the time that he would give up the mandate, but then-Democratic leader Mike Mansfield convinced him that it made sense to continue.
In terms of education, Hunter attended Georgetown University, which according to Adam Entous of The New Yorker he earned where he could, and later law school at Yale University. In between studies – in 1992 – he then worked as a Jesuit volunteer at a church in Portland, where he met his first wife, Kathleen Buhle.
You could be interested in
The United States has already sent billions of dollars in military aid to Ukraine and Israel in recent years. In an effort to get more money for both countries, however, Joe Biden faces difficult obstacles, such as chaos in the House.
Hunter married Kathleen in 1993 and they have three daughters together – Naomi, Finnegan and Maisy. The marriage lasted over 20 years, in 2017 the couple officially divorced. This was preceded by a stormy divorce trial, during which Buhle accused Hunter of preferring to spend on his interests, including drugs, alcohol or prostitutes, while the family barely paid the bills.
Kathleen spoke more publicly about the breakdown of her marriage last year in an interview with Good Morning America, her first ever televised interview. “He struggled with a huge drug addiction, which is heartbreaking and painful. He was not the one I married,” she explained in front of millions of viewers.
Drugs and other addictions
It was drugs and other harmful substances, as already indicated in the very introduction, that played a big role in the life of the president’s son. He allegedly started drinking as a teenager and admitted himself that he was no stranger to cocaine in college. After all, a positive test cost him a job in the US Navy.
He repeatedly tried to get treatment for his addictions, but when his older brother Beau succumbed to cancer in 2015, alcohol was his answer to grief again. It is said that at that time he only left the house for another bottle of vodka. According to the BBC website, he is said to have even told a family friend that “he knows everyone thinks the bad brother died”.
For the fact that he got out of the world of alcohol and drugs alive, however, according to his memoirs Beautiful Things owes to the love of his family.
Among other things, his brother Hallie’s widow also became his for a while. The pair split in 2019 and just weeks later, Hunter married South African filmmaker Melissa Cohen after a whirlwind six-day romance. The president’s son is still with her today and they have a son, Beau Jr.
However, Hunter has a total of five children. A DNA test in 2019 confirmed that he is the biological and legal father of Navy Roberts, the daughter of an exotic dancer from Arkansas. Hunter claims in his memoirs that he does not remember meeting his daughter’s mother, but he pays her child support, and his father himself recently admitted that he has seven grandchildren – along with the late Beau’s two offspring.
Family and business
Although his son’s personal life certainly often caused wrinkles for Biden, it is mainly Hunter’s business that today has a red exclamation mark floating over it, and which does not always cast a good light even on the president himself.
An example is the time Hunter worked at the bank holding company MBNA America, which was later bought by Bank of America, after graduating from Yale.
Joe Biden’s close ties to the bank — one of Delaware’s largest employers and a major contributor to his political campaigns — have earned him the unflattering nickname “MBNA Senator.”
It certainly didn’t help that when Hunter was promoted to executive vice president of the company, his father pushed through a bankruptcy reform bill in the Senate that was beneficial to MBNA.
This is not the only time the Bidens have had to defend themselves over suspected overlapping interests. In recent years, Hunter’s foreign business interests during his father’s time as vice president have been particularly talked about. China and Ukraine play a major role in them, and the constantly recurring question of whether and how much Hunter (didn’t) use the name of his powerful father.
USA as a country of gerontocracy
The debate about the old age of American politicians is a recurring theme. The change in the occupation of the highest political ranks is approaching slowly across the ocean, but the effects could be drastic.
For example, in 2013 Hunter accepted a co-founding position on the board of Chinese private equity firm BHR; he later owned a 10% stake in the fund. However, the company was registered in Shanghai less than 14 days after Hunter flew with his father on an official vice presidential trip to China and met with the company’s chief executive.
Ukraine as a thorn in the side
As for Ukraine, it raises even more controversy, given that in the Obama administration, Joe Biden was the person responsible for relations between Kyiv and Washington. The focal point in this case is the Ukrainian gas company Burisma, whose board Hunter was a part of and thanks to which he earned $1.2 million a year (over 27.5 million crowns).
At the same time, however, as part of the anti-corruption campaign, then-Vice President Biden, along with others, advocated for the removal of the country’s top prosecutor, Viktor Šokin. The local parliament actually dismissed him in 2016, but critics of the decision claim that he lost his seat only because he was also investigating Burisma.
After the dismissal of Šokin, two payments of five million dollars were even to be sent to the Bidens, which amounts to almost 115 million crowns when converted. However, the truth remains that none of the discussed suspicions have yet been officially brought against the family by the authorities, and various investigations have failed to link Hunter’s activities to his father, as many Republicans would like.
So is Hunter’s laptop, which turned up at a Delaware repair shop years ago and caused a stir in the 2020 presidential campaign. It is said to contain evidence of Hunter’s extensive income from work in China and Ukraine, and evidence about possible corruption or his escapades under the influence of alcohol and drugs.
However, it is now in the possession of the FBI, which has not yet taken any action.