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Email provided to FBI alleges Hunter Biden hadn't paid taxes on some Burisma payments

Rosemont Seneca colleague suggested Hunter Biden file an amended tax return days before Trump took office in 2017, document alleges.

Updated: December 11, 2020 - 1:16pm

Four days before Donald Trump assumed the presidency, a business colleague warned Hunter Biden he had not paid taxes on approximately $400,000 that he had been paid by a Ukrainian gas firm in 2014 and that he needed to file an amended tax return, according to an email provided to the FBI.

The email was first located on a laptop Hunter Biden purportedly left behind at a Delaware repair shop and that was subsequently surrendered to the FBI under a grand jury subpoena in 2019, according to two sources directly familiar with what was provided to the government.

Senate investigators have also become aware of the email, and have tried to track down its author to discuss its references to Burisma Holdings and other transactions described in the document as "phantom income."

The email purports to recount a conversation between Hunter Biden and an executive at the Biden-connected firm Rosemont Seneca Advisers in January 2017 that outlined income and tax liabilities for the former vice president's son between 2014 and 2016.

It specifically flagged income Hunter Biden was believed to have received from the Ukrainian gas firm Burisma Holdings starting in 2014, when the younger Biden was added to the company's board while it was facing corruption allegations and while his father Joe Biden took over U.S.-Ukraine policy.

"In 2014 you joined the Burisma Board and we still need to amend your 2014 returns to reflect the unreported Burisma income," Rosemont Seneca executive Eric Schwerin is quoted as writing Hunter Biden in the Jan. 16, 2017 email. "That is approximately $400,000 extra so your income in 2014 was close to $1,247,328."

Joe Biden's presidential transition office on Wednesday revealed that Hunter Biden is the focus of a criminal investigation into his "tax affairs" by the U.S. attorney's office in Delaware. Hunter Biden issued a statement through the transition office saying he was cooperating and confident he and his accountant handled his taxes appropriately.

"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," Hunter Biden said Wednesday.

George Mesires, a lawyer for Hunter Biden, did not immediately return a call or email message Thursday from Just the News seeking comment on the purported email. Hunter Biden has said he believed he acted properly while working for Burisma but in retrospect wishes he hadn't taken the board job because of the controversy it created for his father.

Schwerin did not return an email message seeking comment. 

Schwerin worked in various federal jobs before joining Hunter Biden at Rosemont Seneca. While working at the firm, Schwerin was appointed by the Obama-Biden administration in 2015 to a plum post on the Commission for the Preservation of America's Heritage Abroad.

Brian Della Rocca, a lawyer for John Paul Mac Isaac, the Delaware computer shop owner who turned over the laptop to the FBI in December 2019, declined comment.

But two people directly familiar with the contents of the laptop confirmed the Jan. 16, 2017 email between Schwerin and Hunter Biden was on the computer when the FBI took custody of a copy of its hard drive in December 2019.

Initially, Democrats tried to suggest the laptop was Russian disinformation when President Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani revealed its existence earlier this fall before the election. Soon thereafter, however, the nation's top intelligence official, John Ratcliffe, said there is no evidence it was foreign disinformation. Federal investigators have been treating the laptop's contents as an important roadmap to investigate tax and money laundering issues.

If the email is authenticated, it adds new intrigue to the long-running Biden controversy in Ukraine. House Democrats last year impeached Trump on allegations he abused his power by asking Ukrainian officials to investigate issues surrounding Hunter Biden's hiring by Burisma and Joe Biden's effort to force the firing of a Ukrainian prosecutor who was investigating the company.

Joe Biden has said the prosecutor was fired because he had been slow to pursue corruption and not because of the Burisma connection. The prosecutor claims he was fired because he would not stop investigating Burisma and planned to call Hunter Biden as a witness.

If the Burisma payments to Hunter Biden involved belated tax payments, as the email suggests, it would give new ammunition to Trump's supporters that his request for an investigation was warranted.

State Department officials also have testified recently to the Senate Finance and the Senate Homeland Security Committees -- which have been investigating the Biden family business dealings -- that they believed Burisma was corrupt and may have even made bribery payments to Ukrainian officials while Hunter Biden served on the board. Hunter Biden has said he did not engage in any wrongdoing

Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent, who served as a senior official in the U.S. embassy in Kiev, testified that he and his colleague believed Hunter Biden's role at Burisma while his father oversaw Ukraine policy created the appearance of a conflict of interest that undercut U.S. efforts to fight corruption in the former Soviet republic.

Sens. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., and Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, the two chairmen of the committee, told Just the News on Thursday evening that their investigators continue to seek witnesses who have information about Hunter Biden's business dealings in Ukraine, Russia, China and other foreign countries.

“The Committees continue to investigate matters related to Hunter Biden’s financial dealings and have contacted a number of individuals connected to them," the senators said.

The January 2017 email suggests Hunter Biden made anywhere from $833,614 to more than $2.5 million a year in the second term of the Obama-Biden administration as he and his partners pursued global business deals in Ukraine, Russia, China and other foreign countries.

But it also raised questions about his finances and accounting beyond the alleged Burisma tax payment that was overdue. Schwerin's email suggested Hunter Biden borrowed money from his company, and also had claimed as income monies he did not receive. "You didn't receive this in cash and it is in reality 'phantom income,'" Schwerin wrote Hunter Biden in explaining some transactions.

Senate investigators have already issued a report warning that Hunter Biden's foreign business deals created potential security vulnerabilities for his family. Now, they are eager to interview Schwerin and other witnesses to unravel the complex financial transactions mentioned in the email and other documents recently gathered.