This is Roger Ver. Last year he renounced his citizenship to avoid paying US taxes. Now he’s upset that the “tyrants” in the US government won’t give him a visa to visit Miami this weekend to speak at a Bitcoin conference.
As many of you know, unitary, robust citizenship is an important value to me. Another big interest of mine is morons and arrogant douchebags, especially people who fall into both categories. Which brings us back to Roger Ver, variously known as a “Bitcoin entrepreneur” or the “Bitcoin Jesus.” Ver is now a citizen of Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis. He was so excited about avoiding taxes that as soon as he became a Nevisian he set up yet another start up that would allow you to use bitcoins to buy a Saint Kitts and Nevis passport so you too could avoid US taxes. Alas, it folded after a few months, apparently because the St Kitts government disavowed it.
Unlike Facebook billionaire Eduardo Saverin who renounced his citizenship to avoid US taxes back in 2012, I don’t get the impression that Ver is remotely that rich. He may be worth a few or even many millions of dollars. But he does not seem remotely in the category of 100s of millions, let alone billions. In any case, now he wants a visa to return to the US to speak at a Bitcoin conference this weekend in Miami. But the US has repeatedly denied his requests. And he’s extremely upset at “the tyrants [who] won’t allow me to attend #CES2015, #TNABC or anything in the US.”
Here’s Roger with his “Borders are Imaginary Lines” t-shirt he wore for his appointment at the US Embassy Barbados to apply for a Visa. He even seems to be selling these shirts as a way people can express their opposition to the tyranny that is keeping him from visiting the US.
As I’ve written before, I don’t think American citizens who renounce their citizenship for tax purposes should be allowed to return to the country ever, except possibly under highly extenuating circumstances. Ver is upset that he cannot ditch his US citizenship to live in a tax haven that is – let’s be frank – under the de facto US security and economic umbrella and come back whenever he wants to hang out or hawk bitcoins.
Not only is Ver upset that the US immigration authorities do not see borders as imaginary lines. He also seems to have gotten extremely bad legal advice.
Despite the fact that Ver says the US is keeping him out because they say they’re afraid he might not leave after his visa expires (admittedly, not a terribly persuasive reason), his real ire seems rooted in his belief that the US has no basis to bar him.
Said Vers …
“I checked with lawyers very carefully before I renounced, and they clearly assured me that I will qualify for a visa to visit the USA. I would be fine with them denying my visa if it was for a valid reason, but they are either lying, ignorant, or stupid when they claim that I plan to secretly overstay my visa and live as an illegal immigrant in the USA.”
I’m curious what lawyer Ver was talking to. Because they were ignorant, bad lawyers. The US code explicitly states that former citizens who renounce their citizenship to avoid taxes are an excludable class. See Sec. 212 [8 U.S.C.1182].
Of course, like Saverin, now that the costs of renouncing his citizenship are becoming more clear he’s insisting that his decision to renounce his US citizenship and become a citizen of Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis had nothing to do with a desire to avoid taxes.