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Friday, May 11, 2012
Facebook Co-Founder Eduardo Saverin Renounces US Citizenship

Facebook Co-Founder Eduardo Saverin Renounces US Citizenship

A billionaire co-founder of Facebook has renounced his United States citizenship ahead of the company's initial public offering- a move that analysts say is becoming more common among wealthy Americans.

Eduardo Saverin, one of the original founders of Facebook, gave up his citizenship ahead of the social network's IPO, which is estimated to bring a value of the company to around $96 billion. Saverin owns about 4 percent of the company, which would earn him about $4 billion if the Facebook valuation is accurate.

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

The Internal Revenue Service published a list containing the names of Americans who renounced citizenship as of April 30. Saverin gave up his U.S. citizenship "around September" of last year, according to the statement.

Saverin, 30, is one of the more notable wealthy Americans who have decided to give up their citizenship in an effort to avoid paying U.S. income tax.

About 1,780 Americans gave up their citizenship's at U.S. embassies last year, which is a dramatic increase from 235 in 2008, according to Andy Sundberg, secretary of Geneva's Overseas American Academy, highlighting numbers from the government's Federal Register.

The increase can be attributed in part to whistleblower Bradley Birkenfeld after he left UBS, Switzerland's largest bank. Birkenfeld exposed the tax evasion practices of UBS, which then led to a governmental crackdown on tax evasion.

"It's a loss for the U.S. to have many well-educated people who actually have a great deal of affection for America make that choice," Richard Weisman, an attorney at Baker & McKenzie in Hong Kong, told Bloomberg News.

"The tax cost, complexity and the traps for the unwary are among the considerations," he added.

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