Goldberg: Why is Peter Thiel, a GOP megadonor, buying a Maltese passport?
Why is Peter Thiel, a Republican megadonor, buying a Maltese passport? Why did he buy it, and why a nonresident of Malta? Why hasn’t he put it on a return trip to the US? Why hasn’t anyone asked? And perhaps most importantly, what will he do with it?
These are the questions that Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking or Bill Gates would ask themselves about such a purchase. Or maybe some of their children. The answers are probably the same. But, why? The answers to these questions are probably not quite so black and white, but we are going to explore them.
We are going to examine the history of US citizenship and taxation, and we will take a closer look at the political and social ramifications this may have for Thiel.
It is important to mention that Thiel has been a guest of the US in the past. He is a dual citizen of the US and Malta. This is how he got his first American citizenship at the age of 17, when he signed his name on a US passport at the local passport desk. He was born in America, but after the death of his parents when he was 10, he moved to the US with his mother and his two brothers.
His mother and his brothers were naturalized American citizens, so he was always a US citizen. However, he did not have a passport of the US, but rather a passport of Malta. This was no big deal, he went to America as a non-immigrant working on an assembly line where he was an art student, then he moved to New York where he met a lawyer who introduced him to a local attorney to become a naturalized American citizen, and then he moved to California where he went to college.
Thiel graduated from college in 1984, and he has never been in the US since. For the last nine years, he has been living in Malta (where he was born) and working in the US