back to article Facebook stock plunge leaves tax-dodge Saverin WORSE off. Haa ha

While taking a break from sipping Cristal Champagne at his home in tax-haven Singapore, Eduardo Saverin - who stumped up $30,000 to get Facebook going when he was Mark Zuckerberg's roommate at Harvard - sparked a political firestorm last month when he renounced his American citizenship ahead of the social network's stock market …

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  1. The Axe

    You know, Saverin could have renounced his citizen ship because he doesn't like America any more - sod the cost.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Someone has a lot to answer for, and it's not the Savarins or the Zucks of the world.

      Blame Morgan Stanley for it, I bet someone on the inside made a lot of money out of it.....

    2. asdf Silver badge
      FAIL

      could be worse he could be Greek

      He liked America enough to go to one of world leading universities (Harvard) and in the process "worthless" America help make him insanely rich.

  2. That Steve Guy
    Coat

    Watch the slide...

    Facebook was overhyped and overpriced now we all get to watch from the sidelines comfortable that Zuck and co are losing money as the value of their shares tanks.

    That makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

    Still I feel sorry for those investors who bought into the overhyped and overpriced shares on floatation day, looks like the markets didn't learn from the dot com thing years ago.

    1. Rob

      Re: Watch the slide...

      "Still I feel sorry for those investors who bought into the overhyped and overpriced shares on floatation day, looks like the markets didn't learn from the dot com thing years ago."

      I wouldn't feel sorry for those types they clearly fall into the category of bad investors or as I like to call them feckin' idiots.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. csumpi
          Stop

          Re: Watch the slide...

          """ I wouldn't feel sorry for those types they clearly fall into the category of bad investors or as I like to call them feckin' idiots. I think the term you're looking for is "dumb f*cks" or "zuckers". """

          Except if you have a 401k or mutual funds, most likely they bought some for you, too. You just don't know about it. So we are all "zuckers". Unless you have any investments, that also includes you.

          1. PaulW

            Re: Watch the slide...

            "Except if you have a 401k or mutual funds"

            Most mutual funds - unless explicitly called out in the prospectus - wont buy into or touch IPOs as they fall outside of the type of instrument they hold (e.g. Large Cap Dividend wouldnt have bought in). You did read the 401k prospectus right? You do understand what is in your 401k/IRA/Pension Fund? Thought not.

          2. Tom 7 Silver badge

            Re: Watch the slide...

            Ah the 401k ploy where we are suddenly supposed to throw all rational thought out of the window and suddenly wish for a rising stock market. If my pension fund has invested in Facebook then I will personally sue the fuckwit that incested ( that’s I typo I think I shall leave in) in it for pissing my money up the wall*.

            They will of course piss my money up the wall on the charges and bonuses that will whittle my pension fund to the bone.

            You can wish for a rising stock market all you want but the only way you'll get a sustainable rise is if we get rid of all the imaginary ponzi money first and thats something no government has the courage to do so we shall just have to wait for it to happen by force of reality - cos the taxpayer simply cant afford to keep this bubble inflated much longer.

            *yeah I know I wont get any money from it but I wont be working anyway so I'll have to keep myself amused somehow.

      2. That Steve Guy

        Re: Watch the slide...

        Well the way Morgan Stanley first overvalued the company, told the rich investors of it (effectively warning them not to touch it) then the facebook shares were sold to smaller investors who couldn't go short on them.

        That is a very bad position to be put into.

        But equally they shouldn't have invested into a company where nobody has the slightest clue what its value really is.

    2. The Fuzzy Wotnot
      Pint

      Re: Watch the slide...

      "I feel sorry for those investors"

      As it says in every advert and probably every contract, words to the effect that "the value of stocks and shares can go up and down", so no I don't feel sorry at all.

      It's a little vicarious to gloat over Facebook's slow slide but they're big enough, old enough and daft enough to look after themselves. It was technically worth bugger all to start with so no great loss when the share price confirms that!

      1. Tom 13

        @The Fuzzy Wotnot: I think the more pertinent bit

        would be the "high risk" disclaimer that accompanies all IPOs. You're flat out told that if you can't afford to lose it all, stay the frack away.

    3. Tom 13

      Re: Watch the slide...

      Except that Zuck and Company already cashed out with enough money to be comfortable for the rest of their lives even if the company DOES completely tank. Remember the key element in any confidence scheme is knowing when to walk away an leave another zucker holding the bag.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Needs to be careful it doesn't end up like the TeleWest execs who got given several £10k's worth of shares shortly before they crashed to near zero value only to find that as they'd been given shares rather than options HMRC was expecting tax to be paid on the value when the got the shares rather that a charge when they exercised options (which in case of a crashing share is something you never get to exercise... like all the options I've ever had!) - so they had a tax bill on shares that were priced at a few £10k's when they got them but were then probably only worth a few £100 which wasn't going to pay for a £10k+ tax bill.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Needs to be careful it doesn't end up like the comment that thought it was getting some punctuation at some stage but instead just ran on and on and on until it caused the mother of all buffer overflows and crashed the whole internet

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Happy

        huh

        why did you use an apostrophe in your albeit eloquent comment huh oh and the capital n

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    A Dirty Little Secret to Kill the Fools' Gold Golden Goose?

    Do you think that intelligence shared on the internet is advising even the slowest of former Facebook fans of the dangers of sharing even the most mundane and self-centred of trivial information ........... which is easily to be abused and used by the most pathetic of harridans and fascist police states alike .... http://www.tradeaidmonitor.com/2012/05/state-department-taps-into-intelligence-extraction-technology-to-monitor-social-media.html

    Whenever it is such, is its stock and future bound to plummet to a level much more appropriate to its true and honest value.

    Bubble, ... Meet Prick?

  5. Turtle

    Question.

    While it seems as though everyone is laughing at Zuckerberg, and now Saverin, for the amount of money their stock is losing, I am kind of curious to know just how much their stock will have to lose before they are no longer gazillionaires...

    1. error handler

      Answer

      According to www.whoownsfacebook.com - and I have no idea about its reliability, it was just the first result I found - he holds a 28.2% stake.

      Google Finance says there are a little over 2.1 billion shares outstanding, so he's got about 600 million of them.

      At the IPO price of $38, 600 million shares would have been worth $22.8 billion.

      As of typing this FB is trading at $28.53 so that's down to $17.1 billion.

      To drop him down to $1 billion would mean the share price would need to fall to about $1.67 (reducing FB's market cap to around $3.5 billion from the $80 billion it was at IPO).

      Of course even if FB traded at $0.01 he'd be worth $6 million, which is a lot more than I am.

      1. Turtle

        @error handler: Re: Answer

        Thank you for the answer! Although the question was meant to be ironic and rhetorical, the answer which you have taken the time and effort to discover is actually quite interesting. Thanks again!

  6. tkioz
    Trollface

    Okay I'm a bad person for laughing at this bugger. Oh wait I'm not, he's a scum sucker that nicked off when it benefited him more. Paying tax is about putting back into a system that supported you. And as much as we bitch about the U.S at times, it did support him, it provided him safety, security, education, opportunity, etc. and he decided to try and avoid paying his due, so he can suck it!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Harvard

      Well, assuming his Wikipedia entry hasn't been edited to hide the truth about his all-American background:

      - he was Brazilian. Parents are wealthy

      - he was educated at a US private school

      - went to Harvard University. Graduated in 2006.

      - Has lived in Singapore since 2009.

      Really, he isn't especially indebted to US public.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Harvard

        Yeah, but: He made his money in America, from an American company, while enjoying the benefits of being an American Citizen. If you've bothered to become a citizen of a country, that makes a pretty big statement, it doesn't matter where you live, you are still a citizen of that country.

        1. dogged

          Re: Harvard

          what benefits?

          The free healthcare?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Benefits?

            Only the Americans seem unaware that the dismal level of services being provided by their government gives them the worst return on their tax dollars of any country in the world.

        2. GotThumbs
          Facepalm

          Re: benefits??

          Your lying to yourself and trying to fool others.

          Wake up fool.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: benefits??

            Your = that belonging to you.

            I hope those student loans weren't too hefty.

      2. GotThumbs
        Boffin

        Re: Harvard

        Agreed, but you won't see any lazy POS Americans seeing that point of view.

        American continues to want the wealthy to take care of their lazy asses. I'm not wealthy, but what I have I earned and paid for. I paid for my education and paid off what federal loans I took. I bought my own house without any outside/family assistance.

        I think the biggest problem with this nation today is the lack of self-responsibility and lack of self-reliance. Heck Obama and his cronies want parents to keep taking care of their children...even after they should be self-sufficient and self-reliant (allowing kids on health-insurance up to age of 26)

        More and more today....the lazy and inept have incorrectly talked themselves into thinking they are entitled to the rewards of others.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Harvard

          It's funny how the people who make the least amount of money are the ones who are most indignant about taxes.

          1. daveeff
            Flame

            Re: Harvard

            >>It's funny how the people who make the least amount of money are the ones who are most indignant about taxes.<<

            Yeah it's hysterical, people who's tax bills mean the difference between a holiday or no holiday, tesco value beans or tesco value minced beef, getting a tooth pulled or not because they can't afford an NHS crown get more upset than people who's tax bills mean a difference to how many billions they have in the bank that they couldn't spend if they spent their whole life on the shopping channel.

            See Marie Antoinette's tweet #cake.

        2. Daniel B.

          @GotThumbs

          Ayn Rand called. She wants her arguments back.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    HA HA HA, HA, HA HA HA

    Deserves it.

  8. GotThumbs
    Boffin

    More likely...America's bruised ego

    I think a lot of this is more about Americas bruised ego. Who in their right mind would leave the US and reject US Citizenship? Count my father in that group. He turned down US Citizenship when He was moving from the US to Canada. For anyone who has traveled the world...or even to Canada...they understand that the world DOE NOT actually revolve around the US.

    For such a free country (as touted by many Americans even today), I find that the common US citizens are lying/fooling themselves. This country is moving more and more towards a government ruled society. Mostly due to lazy people who would rather the government take care of them....than being a self-sufficient/self-reliant person. This does NOT apply to ALL in the US, but there is a rapidly growing number of people in this group.

    America was founded by people who knew that an individuals success was solely based on their own work ethic. Todays lazy POS just want to take the easy route and let the government take over where the weak parents left off. If I were wealthy enough...I'd be leaving this sinking ship as well. Americans need to stop lying to themselves and face up to the reality of their current situation.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: More likely...America's bruised ego

      "America was founded by people who knew that an individuals success was solely based on their own work ethic. Todays lazy POS just want to take the easy route and let the government take over where the weak parents left off. If I were wealthy enough...I'd be leaving this sinking ship as well. Americans need to stop lying to themselves and face up to the reality of their current situation."

      Trouble is you then run into the people just "born unlucky": having a bad arm or deadbeat parents who put you so far down the ladder you're always no more than two steps away from being cannon fodder. America has been called the land of opportunity, but how can such people hope to get their opportunity in life? In an earlier time, they'd have just been left to the elements or the wolves, but modern people call that uncivilized. IOW, what do you do when you're obligated to give a chance to people who really couldn't get a chance even to save their lives?

      1. Tom 13

        Re: so far down the ladder you're always no more than two steps away

        Yeah! There's no way a near bankrupt alcoholic could become a successful radio and tv talk show host and become a recognized leader of a grassroots movement to restore our country to greatness. So there!

        /end sarc

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: More likely...America's bruised ego

      I don't believe the idea that the US is full of people who are too lazy to work and just sit around not paying taxes, collecting welfare, and otherwise being parasites. I know a lot of people from all walks of life, from illegal immigrant day laborers to internet millionaires. All of them work hard (if they aren't rich/retired already) and don't expect anything from the government other than, say, their mail to be delivered and potholes to be fixed occasionally.

      The idea that the country is full of invisible parasites is one that conveniently suits rich right-wingers who want to lower their own tax bills.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: More likely...America's bruised ego

      "America was founded by people who knew that an individuals success was solely based on their own work ethic."

      Um, ironically enough the *United States* was founded by colonists who convinced themselves they didn't owe anything to the state that had supported their colonising endeavours. Tax-dodgers, iow.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: More likely...America's bruised ego

        From their point of view, taxes were being used as a form of repression (that and monopoly power--the Boston Tea Party was a protest on both those issues). And they believed the colonial governors weren't a direct enough representation for matters so influential on their lives (thus the "No taxation without representation" slogan), as it's not like any of them could really sway the House of Commons who were viewing the colonies several thousand miles (and several months) removed (since any news from there had to wait on the next ship coming to port--it was still slow going in the 18th century). There was a disconnect on both sides, and chances to mend fences were regrettably taken the wrong way. This history tends to leave some Americans with an independent streak...and a distrust of government.

      2. Tom 13

        Re: More likely...America's bruised ego

        Before we were tax dodgers we were the scum of the Empire and not worth keeping in your prisons. It was only AFTER we became successful that you wanted to tax us to death. And don't gimme any crap about low rates. The taxes had to be paid in hard coin which was pretty damn rare on this side of the pond at the time. So yeah, we threw off the leeches once before, maybe we can do it one more time. Cause with what's happening in Greece and Spain, looks to me like you're gonna need us to bail your sorry butts out again. Assuming of course that the commie in chief hasn't already hobbled our ability to do so.

    4. asdf Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: More likely...America's bruised ego

      Oh well it could be worse. We could be a country whose empire was once the world's biggest but now is dwarfed and made irrelevant by some of our former colonies. We could be mired in a deep recession and a partial member in a political union that is falling apart. Things may be bad but at least we aren't stuck in old Europe.

  9. Danny 14 Silver badge

    wow so instead of being worth 10bn he is only worth 8?

    cry me a fucking river.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    He can aways claim the difference back

    Just the same as here in the UK, if your estimated advanced income or net asset worth is wrong then you can make a reverse claim back against what the actual net worth is on the day due to the Taxman.

    He hasn't lost out, or under paid what is due. the difference in estimate and paid is out of his hands, if hes over paid then hes due a refund, it might just take a year or so for it to come back.

    1. Anonymous Dutch Coward
      Coat

      Re: He can aways claim the difference back

      Oh really? So the value of his shares on the day of his renunciation magically changes depending on the stock price in the future (of that day)?

      That'll make the accountants laugh all the way to the banks or go insane. Either. Perhaps both.

      Now where's my DeLorean and my copy of Dr. Dan Streetmentioner's bestseller...

    2. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: He can aways claim the difference back

      No he can't. According to the article, the date he renounced his citizenship was the Due Date. All his assets gets evaluated and assessed to realize all the appreciation. Given the amount involved it's unlikely they took his word on an estimate and instead he was subjected to a full audit. His tax bill (which includes the capital gains from all that realized appreciation) would thus reflect taxes on that day and no further, since after that day you're no longer an American concern. Your assets essentially are expatriated with you--but not before that tax bill, which also resets the basis of all the assets. He can't claim a refund on the taxes since he's no longer a citizen.

      1. david 12 Bronze badge

        Re: He can aways claim the difference back

        I haven't seen his tax bill, but if they are claiming a capital-gains event, they are accepting his statement that he did not renounce American Citizenship for the purpose of evading tax.

        If they were going to claim that he was attempting tax evasion, he would still be liable for American tax, and there would be no accepted tax event.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: He can aways claim the difference back

          What I described is SOP for renouncing citizenship. Renounce US citizenship IS a "tax event". In this case, all capital gains on assets are realized on that day and taxes assessed on those gains. This is true of anyone who renounces citizenship, though the level of scrutiny the US applies on the to-be-ex depends on that person's net worth.

          1. Tom 13

            Re: He can aways claim the difference back

            You're correct about the tax event. But see my post toward the end of the article for a better legal tact on getting the tax bill reduced. Yes, it makes a shambles of everything, but given the shambles it already is, I don't see that it could make it a whole lot worse.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @More likely...America's bruised ego

    Agree with you about the responsibility thing, but what's wrong with being able to insure your kids up until they are 26?

    Most college students don't have the money to pay for their own insurance, and the insurance offered by colleges often isn't up to par with what their parents' offer, so why deny them that opportunity?

    1. Rodrigo Rollan

      Re: @More likely...America's bruised ego

      Well there is nothing intrinsically wrong with it. In my case once I turned 18 I chose to work and support most of my expenses (study, health, food,entertainment) leaving only housing which my family provided for me until I could do it myself. I think it is healthier for people to take care of themselves as soon as possible or at least attempt to do it in order to grow up. IMHO if you keep providing everything for your kids they will never have a true grasp of how things work, how money is earned and well spent, etc. I am not advocating abandoning them to their luck, but leaving the nest is a requirement for adulthood.

  12. Herby Silver badge

    This falls into the catagory of...

    Be careful for what you ask for, you may just get it.

    Ooops!

    Now if they raise the capital gains tax at the end of the year, my $7.00 basis Apple stock will kill me tax wise.

  13. Wunderbar1

    Yes, he must really be hurting...

    Now Saverin is only worth $1.5 billion instead of $2 billion and will have to save up for the gold plated dolphin he has had his eye on.

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Yes, he must really be hurting...

      I'd like to see him try and sell his shares. I don’t know what volumes are being traded to bring it down now but I bet he's got enough to kill it pretty much stone dead.

      He may be 'worth $1.5 billion' but if he tries to cash in he'd me luck to make 1/10th that. The only reason its so high is because sales of patent no-blink powder are at an all time high.

  14. -tim
    Meh

    Legality of the law?

    He does have enough money to find out if the courts think the law is constitutional. Since both major parties have been working hard to make sure you can't register to vote if your overseas, they have passed enough laws to ensure he can't vote. The taxation without representation could lead to some interesting court cases. Currently there are enough American ex-pats living overseas that they should have between 5 and 7 members in the House.

    1. hypernovasoftware

      Re: Legality of the law?

      Since he's no longer a U.S. citizen, the constitution is just a piece of paper to him.

      He can't have his cake and eat it too.

  15. Havin_it

    Small question....

    ...Notwithstanding that the tax bill is probably still chickenfeed to him, now that he's an ex-citizen what are the odds of him actually paying it? What instruments exist to compel him to do so?

    Genuinely curious about how this works.

    1. JibberJabberBadger
      Holmes

      Re: Small question....

      purely guessing, but I assume "they" can seize any US based assets to the value of the outstanding bill (after following due course of law). Apart from anything else he may still physically have, I would have thought that he would have a US bank account with a few quid in it, oh, and then there is all those shares listed on a certain US sock exchange...

      1. Invidious Aardvark
        Joke

        Re: Small question....

        I didn't know that the US$ was so devalued that they'd resorted to using socks as a form of currency!

        1. Tom 13
          Black Helicopters

          @Invidious Aardvark: Gold, silver, lead and non-hybrid seed corn

          are the preferred assets, but anything tangible will do in a pinch. And always remember two things:

          1. Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you.

          2. Paranoid schizophrenics outnumber their enemies at least two to one.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm kind of surprised that el Reg is pushing the same spin on this story as all the other media outlets.

    Why is everyone obsessed with the idea that this guy has renounced to save tax? He would have been taxed on his assets either way and unless he hits on some other big project in future there will be more revenue going to the US coffers than if he never renounced.

    I renounced my UK nationality to become a citizen of another country, but the first thing most people assume is that it was some kind of tax dodge.

    Honestly I doubt there are enough people willing to renounce purely for tax reasons that it's worth bothering about. Perhaps high taxes are part of some decisions but in my experience there is almost always some deeper reason such as allegiance to another country or dissatisfaction with government policies.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      People only remember what suits them. I moved to Switzerland which doesn't mean I'm rich, but the change in standard of living was worth it. Trains run on time (and real humans apologise in the rare occasion something doesn't work), people know what sport and showers look like (although there are quite a few on crutches, grin), the weather is better and they still know at a government level what privacy looks like (unless they get blackmailed by the US).

      I love the marketing levelled at the country - the US needs to divert the attention from the reason the planet is in a crisis yet again, and the Germans have abruptly stopped calling Switzerland a haven for tax dodgers after a Swiss newspaper found that German banks were falling over themselves when offered an opportunity to hide money apparently from Swiss tax dodgers.. Methinks they all protest too much..

  17. Tom 13

    Re: the IRS has a pretty good idea of what those Facebook shares were worth then

    They do now. I'm not so sure they'll be so sure after the dust settles from all the lawyers questioning whether the plods at Morgan Stanley should have been so sure they were sure. Sure is confusing isn't it?

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