Eduardo Saverin, the Facebook co-founder immortalized by his falling out with Mark Zuckerberg in the movie The Social Network, has renounced his U.S. citizenship ahead of the companys IPO.
Saverin, 30, may have made the move for tax reasons, hoping to avoid the highest rates before Facebook goes public. Although born and raised in Brazil before moving to the United States in 1992, he now lives abroad in Singapore. According to a spokeswoman, Saverin actually renounced his citizenship last September, but the information didnt become public until Bloomberg reported that the IRS released his name on April 30.
Saverin would not be the first billionaire to renounce citizenship for tax purposes. John Dorrance III, heir to the Campbells soup fortune, cashed out of the family business when he sold his 10.5% stake in 1995-1996. Dorrance renounced his U.S. citizenship and moved to Ireland prior to the sale. John Fredriksen, oil tanker tycoon, jumped ship out of Norway in favor of tax-friendly Cyprus. Brazilian Lily Safra, widow to banker Edmond Safra, ditched Brazil for Monaco.
Other billionaires have left their homeland for non-tax reasons. Bidzina Ivanishvili, who wants to become prime minister of Georgia, renounced both his Russian and French citizenships to curry favor with voters. Ted Arison, deceased father to current billionaires Micky and Shari Arison, left the U.S. for Israel in 1990.
Since his falling out with Zuckerberg, Saverin has sold more than half his Facebook stake and has used some of that money to invest in promising startups. In January 2011, he led an $8 million round of financing in Qwiki, which works to improve the way people experience information online. In March 2011, he led a $6.5 million round in Jumio, whose first product, online payment method Netswipe, uses a webcam as a verification device.