Eduardo Saverin, one of the four original founders of Facebook, renounced his American citizenship last year, but news of the fact didn’t hit the broadband until last week. Given that Facebook’s big IPO is in its final countdown, a personal public relations quagmire has ensued. It’s assumed he gave up his citizenship to avoid paying his share of taxes once his fortune balloons — he owns a little bit less than 5 percent of Facebook, a company whose valuation is the biggest in history. However, the scandal hasn’t affected Facebook itself; Saverin stopped working for the company years ago.
Born in 1982 in São Paulo, Brazil, Saverin moved to Miami, Florida during his childhood. He became a naturalized U.S. citizen, co-founded Facebook, and graduated from Harvard University with a degree in economics. At present, his net worth hovers around 2 billion.
After arriving in Singapore in 2009, he found it enough to his liking that he opted, a mere two years later (January 2011), to petition to have his U.S. citizenship revoked. He calls himself a “global citizen” and plans to become a permanent resident of Singapore — a country that skips out on capital gains taxes.
For Saverin, turning his back on the Stars and Stripes will also mean that when he passes his assets on to heirs, there’ll be no 35 percent estate tax levied. Interviewed by the New York Times on the matter, Saverin claimed ignorance about tax laws.