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Senators attack Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin; he fires back

May 17, 2012|By Deborah Netburn
  • Eduardo Saverin, co-founder of Facebook, has an answer for critics who claim he's a tax dodger.
Eduardo Saverin, co-founder of Facebook, has an answer for critics who… (Jason Kempin / Getty Images…)

Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin has made enemies in Washington.

Earlier this week it came to light that the 30-year-old Facebook co-founder had renounced his U.S. citizenship, a move that could save him an estimated $67 million in federal taxes, according to Bloomberg.

Now, Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Robert Casey (D-Penn) are calling Saverin's actions "despicable" and have introduced the aptly named Ex-PATRIOT Act to punish him and others who leave the country in order to avoid big tax bills.

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"This is a great American success story gone wrong," said Schumer at a press conference Thursday. "Mr. Saverin wants to de-friend the United States just to avoid paying taxes, and we're not going to let him get away with it."

Later he added: "Under current law, Mr. Saverin would get away for free. But Sen. Casey and I have a status upgrade for him: Pay your taxes in full or don't ever try to visit the U.S. again."

(A tech editor's edit of Schumer's remarks might have changed "de-friending" to "un-friending" and "status upgrade" to "status update," but I digress).

The proposed Ex-PATRIOT Act would make it easier for the Internal Revenue Service to go after wealthy people who renounce their U.S. citizenship for tax purposes, as well as barring them from reentering the country.

My colleague Jim Puzzanghera, covered the conference in Washington, D.C., and has more on the senators' remarks and their proposed legislation.

In the meantime, Saverin released a statement reiterating that his decision to renounce his U.S. citizenship was not for tax purposes.

"My decision to expatriate was based solely on my interest in working and living in Singapore, where I have been since 2009," he says in the statement emailed to members of the press. "I am obligated to and will pay hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes to the United States government."

He adds that he will continue to invest in U.S. businesses and start-ups and that he hopes those investments will create new jobs in the U.S. and globally.

ALSO:

Payback for a Facebook tax refugee

Senators want to stop Facebook co-founder from dodging taxes

Uncle Sam, say goodbye to Eduardo Saverin and $67 million in taxes

Facebook's Eduardo Saverin gives up citizenship: Shrewd tax move?

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