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Hunter Biden hit with 9 tax-related charges in new indictment

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Hunter Biden hit with 9 tax-related charges in new indictment

Hunter Biden has been indicted on nine tax-related charges, including three felony counts, according to court documents filed Thursday in a federal court in Los Angeles.

The 56-page court filing laid out a series of charges, including allegations that the president’s son failed to pay taxes, failed to file, evaded an assessment and filed a fraudulent form. The indictment alleges that “rather than pay his taxes, the Defendant spent millions of dollars on an extravagant lifestyle.”

“Between 2016 and October 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,” the indictment said.

The charges, which include six misdemeanor tax offenses, were brought by special counsel David Weiss. The case was assigned to Judge Mark Scarsi, who was appointed by former President Donald Trump.

The maximum penalty the president’s son could face if convicted is 17 years in prison, according to Weiss’ office.

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“According to the indictment, Hunter Biden engaged in a four-year scheme in which he chose not to pay at least $1.4 million in self-assessed federal taxes he owed for tax years 2016 through 2019 and to evade the assessment of taxes for tax year 2018 when he filed false returns,” Weiss’ office said in a news release.

The White House declined to comment on the charges and referred NBC News to Hunter Biden’s personal attorneys as well as the Justice Department. The attorneys did not immediately provide a comment.

A White House official said they learned of the charges from public reporting and did not have advanced notice.

The indictment does not appear to reference President Biden or his role as president or vice president.

The additional charges against the president’s son mark a significant development in a federal investigation that has drawn scrutiny from congressional Republicans, who have seized on Hunter Biden’s legal woes as rhetorical ammunition against his father. House Republicans subpoenaed Hunter Biden in November, and his legal team has said that he’s open to testifying publicly before the House Oversight Committee next week.

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“The first sweetheart deal came after whistleblowers came forward,” said a source familiar with the House GOP investigation into Hunter Biden. “Now Weiss files charges on [the] eve of Hunter Biden testimony and after the whistleblowers testified again. No such thing as a coincidence in Washington.”

In July, Hunter Biden pleaded not guilty to federal tax charges following the collapse of a plea deal. A federal judge dismissed the misdemeanor charges in August. He had originally been expected to plead guilty to two federal misdemeanor counts of failing to pay taxes.

Hunter Biden was indicted on federal gun charges in September related to the president’s son being in possession of a gun while using narcotics. Two of the counts allege that Biden completed a form saying he was not using illegal drugs when he bought a gun. Another count asserts that he possessed a firearm while using a narcotic. He pleaded not guilty.

Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Weiss as special counsel in August to oversee the investigation into Hunter Biden.

“As special counsel, he will continue to have the authority and responsibility that he has previously exercised to oversee the investigation and decide where, when and whether to file charges,” Garland said when announcing Weiss’ appointment. “The special counsel will not be subject to the day-to-day supervision of any official of the Department, but he must comply with the regulations, procedures, and policies of the Department.”

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Weiss was nominated by Trump in 2017 and started serving as U.S. attorney in Delaware the next year. He remained in office through the start of the Biden administration, even as most U.S. attorneys appointed during the Trump administration were asked to resign.

On Monday, Weiss asked a federal judge to deny Hunter Biden’s request to subpoena Trump, former Attorney General William Barr and other Trump administration officials.

“His allegations and subpoena requests focus on likely inadmissible, far-reaching, and non-specific categories of documents concerning the actions and motives of individuals who did not make the relevant prosecutorial decision in his case,” Weiss’ team said.

President Biden is expected to attend fundraisers this weekend in Los Angeles, the city where the charges against his son were filed. The trip was planned long before Thursday’s indictment.

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North Dakota Republican Caucus Results

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North Dakota Republican Caucus Results
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Trial begins for Vietnamese property tycoon accused of $12bn fraud

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Trial begins for Vietnamese property tycoon accused of $12bn fraud

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The fraud trial of a Vietnamese real estate tycoon who allegedly misappropriated $12bn started on Tuesday, as part of the country’s largest corruption case that has also ensnared officials from the central bank and government.

Truong My Lan faces a death sentence or imprisonment if found guilty in the graft case, which has rocked the property and corporate bond markets of one of the world’s fastest-growing economies.

The graft case is part of a corruption crackdown launched by Vietnam’s Communist party that has resulted in the arrests of hundreds of senior government officials, including cabinet ministers. Lan, developer Van Thinh Phat Group’s chair, is the most prominent businessperson to face graft allegations.

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Vietnam has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of manufacturers seeking to diversify their supply chains beyond China as geopolitical tensions between Washington and Beijing rise. However, the Vietnamese economy grew 5.05 per cent in 2023, missing the government’s official target, as overseas demand slowed.

The anti-corruption campaign has slowed down project approvals by the government, and more state scrutiny of private businesses could hurt investor confidence, analysts said.

Lan, 67, comes from one of Vietnam’s richest families who made their fortune in property. She has been charged with bribery, embezzlement, abuse of power and “lack of responsibility causing serious consequences”, according to state media.

She has denied wrongdoing, state media reported. Lawyers for Lan, who was arrested in 2022, did not respond to a request for comment.

Lan is accused by Vietnamese authorities of using Saigon Joint Stock Commercial Bank (SCB), in which she owns a controlling stake of about 90 per cent, to funnel 304tn dong ($12.3bn) to her real estate company Van Thinh Phat.

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Loans worth more than $44bn were given by SCB to Van Thinh Phat and related companies between 2012 and 2022, accounting for 93 per cent of the total loans disbursed by the bank.

Authorities also said Van Thinh Phat used allegedly fake companies to sell corporate bonds through SCB to the bank’s depositors.

In addition to Lan, 85 people — including 15 officials from Vietnam’s central bank — are charged in connection with the case. The central bank officials are accused of receiving bribes from Lan to cover up the alleged fraud.

“The trial is important in terms of scale and because it signals that the [Communist] party is willing to expand its anti-corruption campaign to the private sector despite potential risks that it might have on the economy,” said Nguyen Khac Giang, a visiting fellow at Singapore’s Iseas-Yusof Ishak Institute.

He said Lan’s corruption case had dented the confidence of some private businesses in Vietnam worried about the risks of operating in the country and the state companies they work with.

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The anti-corruption campaign has also made government officials hesitant to approve projects, he added, out of fear that they could be implicated in graft.

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FAA audit faults Boeing for 'multiple instances' of quality control shortcomings

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FAA audit faults Boeing for 'multiple instances' of quality control shortcomings

Boeing workers at the Renton Municipal Airport in Washington finalize assembly of an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max jet on Feb. 27. An FAA audit faulted Boeing for “multiple instances” of quality control shortcomings.

Jovelle Tamayo for NPR


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Jovelle Tamayo for NPR


Boeing workers at the Renton Municipal Airport in Washington finalize assembly of an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max jet on Feb. 27. An FAA audit faulted Boeing for “multiple instances” of quality control shortcomings.

Jovelle Tamayo for NPR

WASHINGTON — After a six-week audit of Boeing, federal regulators say they found quality control problems at Boeing and Spirit AeroSystems, one of its top suppliers.

The Federal Aviation Administration says it found “multiple instances” of Boeing and Spirit failing to “comply with manufacturing quality control requirements.”

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The FAA launched the audit of Boeing and Spirit AeroSystems, which builds the fuselage for the Boeing 737 Max, after a door plug panel blew out in midair during an Alaska Airlines flight on Jan. 5.

No one was seriously hurt when the plug came off as the new jet climbed through 14,000 feet after departing Portland, Ore. It returned to make an emergency landing as winds whipped through a hole in the fuselage.

A preliminary investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board determined that four key bolts that were supposed to hold the door plug in place were missing when the plane left Boeing’s factory.

The audit found problems in “Boeing’s manufacturing process control, parts handling and storage, and product control,” the FAA said in a statement.

The agency says FAA administrator Mike Whitaker discussed the findings with Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun last week, when the agency gave Boeing 90 days to come up with a plan of action to address its quality control problems.

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The FAA says it provided both companies with a summary of the audit findings. But the agency declined to share those details with NPR, citing its ongoing investigation.

Auditors visited Boeing’s factory in Renton, Wash., and Spirit’s plant in Wichita, Kan.

Boeing confirmed Friday that it is in talks to buy Spirit AeroSystems.

“We believe that the reintegration of Boeing and Spirit AeroSystems’ manufacturing operations would further strengthen aviation safety, improve quality and serve the interests of our customers, employees, and shareholders,” said Jessica Kowal, Boeing’s director of media relations, in a statement.

That would be a change of strategy for Boeing, which nearly two decades ago sold off the assets that are now part of Spirit.

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But the supplier has had several costly and embarrassing problems with quality control in recent years as it pushed to keep up with Boeing’s ambitious production schedule.

NPR’s Joel Rose reported from Washington, D.C., and Russell Lewis from Birmingham, Ala.

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