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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Posted by Jill | 1:57 PM

Ce N'est Pas Eduardo Saverin

By the time you get to this scene in The Social Network, your heart is breaking for Eduardo Saverin. After all, he's played by Andrew Garfield, whose Tall Thin and Tortured Britishness is on full display throughout the movie, despite the American speech inflections. Garfield is sweet, soulful, cute as a button, and is all about heartbreak. He's a sweet-souled organ donor in Never Let Me Go, he's soulful Biff in the current Broadway revival of Death of a Salesman, and he's going to be Peter Parker this summer. But in The Social Network, his Eduardo is the loyal friend, the cute, goofy guy with the psycho Asian girlfriend, the naïf taken for a schmuck by Evil Mark Zuckerberg and his own private Rasputin, Evil Sean Parker.

Saverin gained a certain amount of admiration in the aftermath of all the Facebook lawsuits, because unlike the Villainous Winklevii, the chiseled twin heirs of Animal House's Greg Marmelard who have made a career out of suing for ever-more Facebook money, he took an undisclosed settlement and went away.

It seems that now he's gone REALLY far away -- to Singapore, where he has decamped and renounced his US citizenship to avoid paying 15% capital gains taxes on the money he stands to make from the Facebook IPO:

Eduardo Saverin, the billionaire co- founder of Facebook Inc. (FB), renounced his U.S. citizenship before an initial public offering that values the social network at as much as $96 billion, a move that may reduce his tax bill.

Facebook plans to raise as much as $11.8 billion through the IPO, the biggest in history for an Internet company. Saverin’s stake is about 4 percent, according to the website whoownsfacebook.com. At the high end of the proposed IPO market capitalization, that would be worth about $3.84 billion. His holdings aren’t listed in Facebook’s regulatory filings.


“Eduardo recently found it more practical to become a resident of Singapore since he plans to live there for an indefinite period of time,” said Tom Goodman, a spokesman for Saverin, in an e-mailed statement.

Saverin’s name is on a list of people who chose to renounce citizenship as of April 30, published by the Internal Revenue Service. Saverin made that move “around September” of last year, according to his spokesman.

Besides helping cut tax bills stemming from the Facebook, the move may also help him avoid capital gains taxes on future investments since Singapore doesn’t have a capital gains tax.

Farhad Manjoo has a few things to say about the Brazilian-born young billionaire, whose wealthy businessman father moved the family to the US after his son's name appeared on a list of people to be kidnapped by gangs:
Would it be too much to say that America saved Eduardo Saverin? Probably. Maybe that’s just too overwrought. The Saverins were just another in a long line of immigrants who’d come to America for the opportunity it affords—the opportunity, among other things, to not have to worry that your child will be kidnapped just because you’ve become wealthy.

Just because his parents moved here doesn’t mean Eduardo Saverin owes America anything, right?

Yet if you study the trajectory of Saverin’s life—the path that took him from being an immigrant kid to a Harvard student to an instant billionaire to the subject of an Oscar-winning motion picture—it emerges as a uniquely American story. At just about every step between his landing in Miami and his becoming a co-founder of Facebook, you find American institutions and inventions playing a significant part in his success.

Would Eduardo Saverin have been successful anywhere else? Maybe, but not as quickly, and not as spectacularly. It was only thanks to America—thanks to the American government’s direct and indirect investments in science and technology; thanks to the U.S. justice system; the relatively safe and fair investment climate made possible by that justice system; the education system that educated all of Facebook’s workers, and on and on—it was only thanks to all of this that you know anything at all about Eduardo Saverin today.

Manjoo proceeds then to enumerate the ways in which the United States government helped Saverin to become the billionaire he is about to become. The ways government helps entrepreneurs may not take the form of checks, but it's there. And when greedy, ungrateful assholes like Eduardo Saverin -- or Willard Romney, for that matter -- decide to hide their billions in foreign bank accounts to avoid even the small percentage of capital gains taxes that are due on their billions, they lose all right to be regarded as human beings and not sociopaths.

Eduardo Saverin is thirty years old. 85% of his Facebook billions will allow him to buy as many toys and women as a thirty-year-old could want -- more than he could buy in a thousand lifetimes. You could make the argument that Mark Zuckerberg is a "job creator" because Facebook employs about 2000 people -- a tiny fraction of the kids graduating college this year who will need jobs. But Eduardo Saverin didn't come up with the idea and didn't write the code. Eduardo Saverin was the middleman -- just as Mitt Romney is a middleman and Jamie Dimon is a middleman. These are people who produce nothing but greed and corruption, and they're the ones fighting hardest to avoid their obligation as citizens.

Farhad Manjoo is 100% correct. Eduardo Saverin owes the US -- big-time. And from now on, when people hear his name, they should think not of adorable, soulful, tortured little Andrew Garfield, but instead they should think of all the greedy bastards throughout history, stuffing their pockets with cash while people around them scramble for scraps.
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Blogger Patricia said...
Guess he's just another example of what entrepreneurial "job creators" do. No surprise there.

Anonymous The Wifely Person said...
wait for it...if the republicans are elected in November, he'll be back waving his little American flag.

By rights, he should be barred entry as an enemy combatant, but he won't. He'll be welcomed as a prodigal son come home.