Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin is catching heat from US senators for renouncing his American citizenship to avoid taxes.
Saverin was born in Brazil, moved to the US at age 11, became a citizen at 16, and founded Facebook with Mark Zuckerberg while at Harvard. Then after all that stuff you saw in The Social Network happened (with considerably less Sorkin-esque repartee, I’m sure), Saverin ended up owning about 4% of Facebook. In 2009 he moved to Singapore, where there is no tax on capital gains.
With the Facebook IPO today, which will raise as much as $18 billion, his stake in the company will grow to be worth about $3 billion.
The move to give up his US citizenship could save Saverin $100 million in US taxes, but in an interview with the New York Times published Wednesday, he claims it’s just a coincidence.
“This had nothing to do with taxes,” he told Times reporter Quentin Hardy. “I was born in Brazil, I was an American citizen for about 10 years. I thought of myself as a global citizen.”
Not exactly what we had in mind when we coined the phrase “I’m a Globalist.”
Democratic Senators Chuck Schumer and Bob Casey aren’t buying it. They’ve proposed a bill that would put a stop to what they say is a growing trend of wealthy ex-pats ‘de-friending’ America to avoid taxes.
“Saverin has turned his back on the country that welcomed and kept him safe, educated him and helped him become a billionaire,” Schumer said at a press conference announcing the bill. “This is a great American success story gone horribly wrong.”