Billionaire Trump-Backer Peter Thiel Seeks Malta Citizenship, Report Says

Billionaire Trump-Backer Peter Thiel Seeks Malta Citizenship, Report Says

Top stories ToplineBillionaire venture capitalist, PayPal cofounder and major MAGA Republican donor Peter Thiel is seeking citizenship in the Mediterranean island nation of Malta, according to a New York Times report, although his intentions behind the citizenship are not yet clear.Billionaire Peter Thiel is reportedly in the process of applying for citizenship in Malta.Getty Images Key Facts Citizenship documents list Thiel’s address as an apartment in Malta, which the New York Times reported is listed as a vacation rental on Airbnb for $180 a night—despite Malta’s citizenship requirements prohibiting applicants from renting out their official residence before their citizenship process is complete. Although a Malta citizenship would not provide Thiel with a significant tax benefit, the New York Times reported, it could provide him a multi-million-dollar compound and an escape from the U.S.—he has expressed extreme dissatisfaction with the direction the country is headed, increasingly funneling his multibillion-dollar net worth into pro-MAGA candidates. Thiel, a self-described conservative libertarian who co-founded Palantir Technologies and PayPal and served on Facebook’s board of directors until February, has poured roughly $30 million into GOP campaigns ahead of the November midterm elections, Politico reported. Candidates he’s funded include fellow venture capitalists Blake Masters, who is running for a seat in Arizona, and J.D. Vance, in Ohio—both were endorsed by former President Donald Trump. Citizenship in Malta would give Thiel his third passport—he obtained New Zealand citizenship in 2011 after the country determined his “entrepreneurial skills” made his citizenship in the public’s interest. Thiel’s spokesperson Jeremiah Hall did not respond to an inquiry from Forbes.Forbes Valuation NumberWe estimate Thiel’s worth at $4.2 billion, making him the 626th wealthiest person in the world.Key BackgroundThiel, a partner with venture capital firm Founders Fund, and a primary investor in Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Stripe, was also the first major investor in Facebook, although he stepped away from the social media giant in February with the intention of influencing the midterm elections in favor of pro-MAGA candidates. He was one of Trump’s biggest donors in his 2016 presidential campaign, when he donated $1.25 million in super PAC and direct donations. He also spoke at the Republican National Convention that year. Thiel has been described as a controversial figure in recent years for embracing seemingly contradictory ideologies. He is a GOP-supporting mega-fundraiser in a Democratic-leaning tech industry. He is gay and he supports former President Donald Trump, who has been criticized for supporting anti-LGBTQ policies. In 2011, he obtained citizenship in New Zealand, although his citizenship status was not made public until 2017. Reports revealed the country’s Internal Affairs officials waived two primary requirements for a New Zealand passport—being a permanent resident or having plans to be one—claiming his “entrepreneurial skills” make him “exceptional.”TangentThiel plans to spend another $5 million on Masters’ campaign in Arizona, in addition to the $15 million he spent on his campaign in the Republican primary race earlier this year, the Washington Post reported on Thursday. As for Vance’s campaign, Thiel could have already donated his last dollar. CNBC reported earlier this month Thiel had indicated he is focusing his fundraising on the Arizona Senate race, following recent polls that show Masters trailing incumbent Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), while polls in Ohio have Vance narrowly ahead of Democratic candidate Tim Ryan.Surprising FactThiel, a Los Angeles resident who has an island estate near Miami Beach, Florida, also had plans to build a megamansion on more than 18 acres of land on New Zealand’s South Island. Those plans, however, was thwarted last month, after local officials denied the proposal, arguing it would have an overwhelming aesthetic impact in the serene lakefront and leave an adverse environmental footprint. He has proposed creating a city on floating platforms outside the bounds of national waters.Furhter ReadingPeter Thiel’s midterm bet: the billionaire seeking to disrupt America’s democracy (The Guardian)Peter Thiel, Major U.S. Political Donor, Is Said to Pursue Maltese Citizenship (New York Times)The Many Contradictions Of Peter Thiel’s New Zealand Citizenship (Forbes)

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