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Wealthy Socialite and Top Dem Donor Reportedly Dumps U.S. Citizenship (and Tax Burden)


"Ex-wife of Marc Rich, who fled the United States in 1983 when indicted on charges of tax evasion, fraud, racketeering and illegal trading of oil with Iran."

Denise Rich will soon be a citizen of Austria, according to reports. (Photo: AP)

Following Eduardo Saverin's decision that he no longer wanted to be an American citizen in May-- possibly to save tens of millions in taxes-- notable socialite and top Democrat donor Denise Rich has followed suit, according to reports.

Though she was nominated for a Grammy for her songwriting, Rich is probably best-known as the ex-wife of Marc Rich, who fled the United States in 1983 when indicted on charges of tax evasion, fraud, racketeering and illegal trading of oil with Iran.

Marc Rich received a presidential pardon on Bill Clinton's last day in office in 2001 because of the couple's generous donations to Clinton library and campaign, according to a 2002 investigation by federal prosecutors and Congress.

Reuters has more information on woman's decision to renounce the United States in favor of Austria:

Dubbed "Lady Gatsby" by Yachting magazine, Rich owns multiple properties, including a mansion in Aspen, Colorado. She is a frequent habitue of Cannes, Monte Carlo and St. Tropez with celebrities and singers aboard her 157-foot yacht, Lady Joy.

Rich will escape future U.S. taxes but possibly not all current ones. In 2008, Congress imposed an expatriation tax on persons with a net worth of more than $2 million who dump their U.S. citizenship or permanent residency. Under the law, those people owe an "exit tax" on their worldwide property, computed at a fair market value the day before they leave. But tax lawyers say the tax can be reduced or avoided by structuring asset holdings through foreign annuities.

While Austria, like the United States, generally taxes its citizens on their worldwide income, it has generous tax breaks for citizens who spend half the year abroad.

In January, Rich put her 5th Avenue penthouse in New York on the market for $65 million, according to the listing agent, The Corcoran Group. New York property records show Rich acquired a 100 percent stake in the apartment, described by Corcoran as "the epitome of luxury and grandeur," for $200,000 in 2006. Bonnie Evans, the Corcoran broker for the property, declined to discuss details.

Rich was born in Worcester, Massachusetts but has Austrian citizenship through her deceased father, a lawyer who represented her in a recent lawsuit said.  He added that she is making the move "so that she can be closer to her family and to Peter Cervinka, her long-time partner."

Nearly 1,800 citizens and permanent residents, a record since data was first compiled in 1998, expatriated last year, according to government figures.

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