Peter Thiel Maybe Bought New Zealand Citizenship

At least according to one New Zealand politician
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 1, 2017 5:45 PM CST
Peter Thiel Maybe Bought New Zealand Citizenship
Billionaire Peter Thiel was able to gain New Zealand citizenship in 2011 despite never having lived in the country because a top lawmaker decided his entrepreneurial skills and philanthropy were valuable, documents reveal.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Trump adviser. Tech billionaire. Gawker killer. Lord of the Rings fan? The New York Times reports Peter Thiel was granted New Zealand citizenship back in 2011 despite not meeting any of the requirements for citizenship. Now at least one New Zealand politician is accusing Thiel of buying his citizenship. In his citizenship application—made public by the New Zealand government under pressure Tuesday—Thiel said "it would give me great pride" to let the world know he's a New Zealand citizen, according to the AP. Yet Thiel's New Zealand citizenship wasn't revealed until last week, and he's declining to comment on it. Thiel, who also has citizenship in Germany and the US, was the only major tech figure to support President Trump's executive order on immigration.

In order to become a New Zealand citizen, applicants are required to live in the country for most of five-year period, plan on living there after gaining citizenship, or work for a New Zealand company abroad, the Guardian reports. Thiel didn't satisfy any of those requirements, having only visited the country a few times and receiving his citizenship at a ceremony in California. He did however invest in a number of New Zealand companies and tout the country as a "great place to start a business." His application was granted by the former minister of Internal Affairs under "exceptional circumstances," which included Thiel's "skills as an entrepreneur." But one New Zealand politician says citizenship was granted "entirely based on money." (Tech billionaires are buying land in New Zealand in preparation for the apocalypse.)

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