Facebook’s foreign co-founder, Eduardo Saverin, finally addressed publicly the rift between himself and Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg, saying there were “no hard feelings” between the two.
Saverin, 30, one of the social network giant’s original four founders, spoke of his relationship with Zuckerberg, how it was portrayed by Hollywood, his recent decision to give up his U.S. citizenship and his current work in Singapore in a cover story for the Brazilian magazine Veja (link in Portuguese).
Saverin, who said he could not previously speak publicly due to contract restraints with other Facebook shareholders, offers nothing but praise for his former Harvard classmate and his running of the company the two founded in 2004, in the piece, whose online counterpart was published this weekend.
“I have only good things to say about Mark, there are no hard feelings between us,” Saverin said, according to translations by Forbes. “His focus on the company since its very first day is anything short of admirable. He was a visionary, he always knew that the only way for Facebook to grow was to maintain its central idea, that of people truly presenting themselves as they are, without nicknames or pseudonyms. That’s Facebook’s biggest strength, what allowed us to transform it into an instrument of protest, like what happened in Egypt, but also in an instrument of business, not to mention a way of naturally connecting with friends.”
Regarding the 2010 film "The Social Network" that focused on Saverin’s estrangement from Facebook, the Brazilian native said it was a “Hollywood fantasy” and not something to be taken as a documentary.
“Facebook wasn’t built out of a Harvard dorm window,” he said. “And I would never throw a laptop at someone, like it appears in the movie. Not even at Mark.”
Saverin also spoke about his decision to give up his U.S. citizenship, which made news shortly before Facebook’s initial stock offering earlier this month. Saverin received much criticism for the move, which was perceived by many as a way by him to avoid paying taxes for his Facebook wealth.
“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.”
As for his current work, Saverin is living in a new multimillion-dollar condo in Singapore, where he’s been since 2009, and continues to invest in start-ups as well as his home country.
“I am investing like a crazy person, mostly in Internet start-ups. And I want to invest in Brazil as well, because I am Brazilian and that’s in my heart,” he said. “And I believe there’s a new Facebook out there to be found. Where? My guess is in healthcare.”