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Let the nation which bans hugging on the street, and canes offenders for not flushing a public toilet, have him.
Greedy billionaire Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin ditched the world’s best nation for one of its worst by renouncing his American citizenship reportedly to live in Singapore — to avoid paying the kind of taxes that helped to birth his social networking service and website in the first place.
The beastly insider trading comes right before Facebook goes public — a move more indicative of Savarin’s naivete than his business savvy. The Brazilian ex-pat is a one-percenter who owes his good fortune — and his life — to America. He moved to Miami with his wealthy family after his name surfaced on a list of kidnapping victims, and attended Harvard University where he helped launch Facebook, and his American Dream.
Today, Saverin has a net worth of $2 billion, lives in one of Singapore’s priciest penthouses, drives a Bentley, revels the night away at Singaporean nightclubs, and slurps Cristal champagne and Belvedere vodka while online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303877604577380131964661806.html">racking up thousands of dollars in bar tabs. The indulgences would be forgivably amusing if Saverin wasn’t so ungrateful towards the nation which gave him his start — or as dismissive of the American taxpayer, whose funding helped to create the universities and schools where the founders of Facebook found their guinea pigs.
America may not be as business-friendly as Saverin would like — remember, he wants to make billions and pay no taxes — but all arrows actually point in the other direction. Facebook is the chubby-cheeked offspring of America’s orderly tax system, which funds the type of research that made the Internet possible. That cyber universe emerged courtesy of the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network, financed by the taxpayer-funded U.S. Department of Defense for use at American research laboratories and universities. Enter Silicone Valley, a canyon of public and private enterprise, which has contributed greatly to Facebook’s liftoff into the stratosphere.
Saverin is the product of a free enterprise system whose unfortunate downside is that it produces gluttonous, egotistical, morally bankrupt billionaires. He’s been living in Singapore since 2009, but hasn’t quite lived up to that eagle-eyed nation’s promise, reports the Wall Street Journal, by funding the types of community tech projects Singaporeans had hoped for.
Saverin is also in for a rude awakening if he thinks the grass is greener in Singapore. True, it has no capital gains tax laws, but it has other excruciating ones to make up the deficit: don’t walk naked around your home in Singapore, it’s considered pornography.
Don’t tell religious jokes there unless you want to be slapped with sedition charges. Be prepared for jail time if the stranger you introduce in Singapore as your pal turns out to be less than a model citizen. And expect to be publicly flogged for minor offenses.
Singapore’s hocus pocus hides its abuses, states Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch.
“Behind the sunny Singaporean smile featured in tourism ads, there are iron teeth prepared to deal with those considered a challenge to the government,” he warns.
Are you listening, Eduardo?Shavana Abruzzo's column appears every Friday on BrooklynDaily.com. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
©2012 Community Newspaper Group
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