Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin has been pretty uncommunicative ever since the details of his flashy Singapore lifestyle, along with his renunciation of American citizenship, made news headlines.
But that all changed recently when Mark Zuckerberg's former business partner, now a newly made billionaire thanks to the Facebook IPO, sat down for an interview with a magazine from his family's native Brazil.
Saverin, 30, cleared the air with the Brazilian magazine, Veja (link in Portuguese), on a number of topics including his taxes, his relationship with Zuckerberg and life after The Social Network.
While outsiders tend to judge Saverin by what they have seen in the movie The Social Network, and read in The Accidental Billionaires, the book on which the movie is based, Fabio Altman, of magazine Veja, suggests that the Facebook co-founder is a lot more reserved than the way has been portrayed.
That's Hollywood, not a documentary, Saverin, now an official resident of Singapore, says in the interview.
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A scene depicted in the movie that was true was Saverin's lawsuit against Facebook over his reduced stake in the company.
The legal dispute, which has since been settled out of court, is the driving factor behind what many outsiders believe to be friction between Saverin and Zuckerberg. But in the interview, Saverin paints a much friendlier picture of the post-lawsuit relationship between him and his old college roommate.
I can only speak well of Mark; I don't resent him, Saverin said. His focus from Day One until today is admirable. He was a visionary and always knew Facebook would only grow if it remained true to its central idea of people presenting themselves truthfully and without pseudonyms.
Saverin, who was played in The Social Network by Andrew Garfield, had not been much of a public figure until a news report of his whereabouts recently surfaced. In the story, Saverin was described as an avid clubgoer who regularly racks up tens of thousands of dollars in bar tabs by ordering bottles of Cristal Champagne and Belvedere vodka.
Not long after that story surfaced, Saverin made more headlines by renouncing his American citizenship so that he could become a full-time citizen of Singapore, where he has lived since 2009.
While many news outlets reported the move to be a way to avoid paying U.S. taxes on his share of the company, which was preparing to make its IPO debut, Saverin denies that and insists that he is in fact paying his U.S. taxes.
The decision was strictly based on my interest of living and working in Singapore, he said. I am obligated and I will pay hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes to the American government. I already paid and I will keep paying whatever taxes I owe based on my time as a U.S. citizen.
Saverin continues to work as an investor and partner in Internet startups from his Singapore apartment, where an office contains three 27-inch Mac monitors on which he constantly monitors everything from stock prices to the weather, according to the magazine article.
Saverin remains an active user of Facebook, but maintains that uses it mostly for business and keeps personal details to himself.