Saturday, May 12, 2012

Facebook Co-Founder Eduardo Saverin Renounces U.S. Citizenship to Avoid $1 Billion in Taxes

Look, that's a lot of money. I don't really care about this Saverin kid, but clearly his case shows that folks like this aren't really American, with no national loyalty, despite gaining U.S. citizenship and becoming fabulously wealthy in this country.

And his decision to renounce isn't going over too well among Facebook fans. See the Los Angeles Times: "Americans feel defriended over perceived Eduardo Saverin tax dodge." I can see why. See, "Facebook's Eduardo Saverin gives up citizenship: Shrewd tax move?":
Here’s a tax tip for Mark Zuckerberg: Give up your U.S. citizenship.

The 27-year-old Facebook Inc. founder could face a tax bill of more than $1 billion after the company’s initial public offering, expected next week.

His former Harvard classmate who is known as “the other Facebook founder” may have found a way to cut the bill. Eduardo Saverin, who now lives in Singapore, has given up his U.S. citizenship. Tax experts say it’s a shrewd move.

Saverin, who was immortalized in the film “The Social Network” as Zuckerberg’s contentious former friend and business partner, has a 4% stake in the company, according to the Who Owns Facebook? website. His stake could be worth nearly $4 billion after the IPO.

“It's definitely savvy tax planning,” said Edward D. Kleinbard, a professor of law at USC who specializes in federal tax policy and international taxation. “He can argue that the value of the Facebook shares in September, when he gave up his citizenship, were significantly less than the value that will be set at the IPO next week.”
"Savvy tax planning."

Well, no. It's called tax evasion.

See the Wall Street Journal, "Taxes Got You Down? Renounce!" And at Bloomberg, "Facebook Co-Founder Saverin Gives Up U.S. Citizenship Before IPO."

And this Savarin kid is a playboy, it turns out. See "The Other Facebook Founder":
SINGAPORE — Facebook Inc. founder Mark Zuckerberg is one of the world's most famous chief executives. His former business partner and friend, Eduardo Saverin, is big in Singapore.

The Brazilian-born billionaire's skirmishes with Mr. Zuckerberg over the future of Facebook were dramatized in the 2010 film "The Social Network," which portrayed Mr. Saverin as a naive entrepreneur.

Mr. Saverin was squeezed out of Facebook early on, and found his stake in the Internet juggernaut diluted to less than 10% from 34%. Today, after more dilution and sales of some of his shares, his stake is about 2%, according to a person familiar with the matter.

But 2% can go a long way, given that Facebook filed documents Thursday to go public with a valuation of up to $96 billion. It can go especially far in Singapore, a financial center better known for banning the sale of chewing gum than for a thriving technology scene.

Since his arrival in 2009, the 30-year-old Mr. Saverin has attracted intense interest here. Singaporeans avidly track his nocturnal social habits. Many hoped he would fund local tech start-ups, but so far his local investments, which include a cosmetics firm, have been limited.

Mr. Saverin is regularly spotted lounging with models and wealthy friends at local night clubs, racking up tens of thousands of dollars in bar tabs by ordering bottles of Cristal Champagne and Belvedere vodka, according to people present on these occasions. He drives a Bentley, his friends say, wears expensive jackets and lives in one of Singapore's priciest penthouse apartments.

Mr. Saverin didn't respond to multiple interview requests.
Well, no surprise. Who's got time for lowly newspaper interviews when you're partying like a go-go '90s nouveau riche capitalist potentate?

BONUS: At The Atlantic, "Eduardo Saverin Isn't the Only Rich Guy Defriending the U.S."