Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin defended himself Thursday from harsh criticism for having renounced his U.S. citizenship in time to avoid paying a large sum in taxes.
In a statement to TPM from his spokesman Tom Goodman, Saverin said he’ll pay the taxes on his earnings while a U.S. citizen.
“My decision to expatriate was based solely on my interest in working and living in Singapore, where I have been since 2009,” the 30-year-old billionaire said. “I am obligated to and will pay hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes to the United States government. I have paid and will continue to pay any taxes due on everything I earned while a U.S. citizen. It is unfortunate that my personal choice has led to a public debate, based not on the facts, but entirely on speculation and misinformation.”
Having already renounced his citizenship and relocated to Singapore, Saverin is not obligated to pay U.S. taxes on any future earnings from Facebook’s initial public offering, which is set to dramatically boost his share in the company.
Immigration experts say the circumstances of Saverin’s move make him all but inadmissable to the United States from here on out, and the Facebook mogul appeared to bid farewell to the country he immigrated to from Brazil as a child.
“As a native of Brazil who immigrated to the United States, I am very grateful to the U.S. for everything it has given me,” he said.
Saverin touted the economic and job-creation opportunities Facebook has initiated and said he hopes to continue investing in the United States.
Two senators on Thursday introduced legislation aimed at punishing Americans who follow in Saverin’s footsteps and avoid taxes by giving up U.S. citizenship.
Sahil Kapur is a congressional reporter for TPM. He previously covered politics and public policy for numerous publications including The Guardian and The Huffington Post. He can be reached at sahil [at] talkingpointsmemo.com.