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Why is Facebook co-founder now in Singapore?

By Liz Neisloss, CNN
May 18, 2012 -- Updated 0116 GMT (0916 HKT)
Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin now lives in Singapore.
Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin now lives in Singapore.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Eduardo Saverin, co-founder of Facebook, moved to Singapore in 2009
  • Recently renounced his U.S. citizenship and is a now a permanent Singapore resident
  • Saverin's spokesman denies the move was done for tax reasons
  • Spokesperson: Asian investments "made the most sense ... to use Singapore as a home"

Singapore (CNN) -- With all the attention on the Facebook IPO, people have been wondering "Where in the world is Eduardo Saverin?"

The co-founder of Facebook, whose falling out with CEO Mark Zuckerberg was immortalized in the film "The Social Network," moved from the U.S. to Singapore in 2009. It was also recently revealed that Saverin, who was born in Brazil, gave up his U.S. citizenship a few months ago and became a permanent Singapore resident.

Why Singapore? According to his spokesman, Saverin's move was just "practical" as he plans to invest in companies "that have strong interests in entering the Asian markets. Accordingly, it made the most sense for him to use Singapore as a home base."

One other glaring possibility? Singapore has no capital gains tax. So depending on the size of his actual stake in Facebook, Saverin stands to realize substantial tax savings on any stock sales. According to Singapore- based "Wealth-X" which gathers information on "ultra high net worth individuals," Saverin's estimated tax savings are "at least $39 million as a result of renouncing U.S. citizenship."

Saverin's spokesman denies the move was done for tax reasons.

Whatever drew him to Singapore, Saverin can find lots of ultra-rich company here. The tiny country is a playground for the super rich, with plenty of fast cars, luxury shopping, high priced gourmet restaurants and trendy bars. And Singapore's stable government and tax benefits have also drawn the wealthy from the region. Singapore has one of the world's highest number of millionaires per capita and a good share of billionaires, like Saverin.

And Saverin is known to like the good life in Singapore, driving a Bentley and partying at several local clubs, including a members only nightclub. He's also appeared in "Singapore Tatler," the local leading society magazine.

Singapore is eager to attract wealthy investors like Saverin, and offers plenty of tax incentives and even permanent residency for big investors. Angel investors in local start-ups enjoy reduced income tax -- and in some cases, pay no income tax.

Saverin has invested in a few Singapore mobile app companies, including Anideo and Perx, which has an increasingly visible customer loyalty reward program in Singapore.

Still Singapore is a good place to live if you are seeking privacy. Most of the media is government backed and keeps a fairly tight lid on private lives, and while the internet has plenty of gossip, Saverin won't likely find paparazzi chasing him in Singapore.

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