- Billionaire philanthropist Robert Smith is being investigated by federal officials for potentially not paying taxes on about $200 million of assets, according to Bloomberg.
- The Vista Equity Partners CEO hasn’t been charged and prosecutors may determine that he doesn’t owe any taxes, Bloomberg said.
- Smith’s philanthropy includes paying off $34 million of student debt for Morehouse College graduates last year, signing Warren Buffett’s Giving Pledge to give away half of his wealth to good causes, and funding scholarships for underrepresented students.
- Here’s a roundup of his charity work in recent years.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Billionaire philanthropist Robert Smith, who paid off the student debt of an entire class of college graduates last year, is the subject of a four-year criminal investigation into whether he failed to pay his taxes, Bloomberg reported on Friday.
Justice Department and IRS officials are determining whether Smith has to pay taxes on about $200 million of assets that flowed from his first private equity fund through offshore structures and into his Fund II Foundation, Bloomberg said.
Smith hasn’t been charged, and authorities may conclude that he owes no taxes on the assets, Bloomberg said.
Smith is the co-founder and CEO of Vista Equity Partners and the wealthiest Black American with an estimated $6 billion fortune. Vista didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.
Here’s a look at his philanthropy in recent years:
Smith spent $34 million of his fortune to erase the student debt of the 2019 graduating class of Morehouse College, a historically Black men’s college in Atlanta.
He donated $20 million to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture in 2016. He also partnered with Floyd Mayweather to help cover the funeral costs for George Floyd earlier this year.
Smith is the only Black American to sign famed investor Warren Buffett’s Giving Pledge, a non-binding commitment to donate the majority of his wealth to charitable causes.
His goals are improving opportunities for Black Americans and supporting ecological causes, while his wife, Hope, focuses on helping children and young people, he wrote on the Giving Pledge website.
“I will never forget that my path was paved by my parents, grandparents and generations of African-Americans whose names I will never know,” he said. “My story would only be possible in America, and it is incumbent on all of us to pay this inheritance forward.”
“We will only grasp the staggering potential of our time if we create on-ramps that empower ALL people to participate, regardless of background, country of origin, religious practice, gender, or color of skin.”
Read more: MORGAN STANLEY: Buy these 22 stocks that are slashing costs as sales take a hit from COVID-19 — putting them in position to smash the market as the economic recovery continues (edited) 8:30Correct JP one:
Smith’s Fund II Foundation has also given more than $240 million to good causes, according to its website. It donated $27 million to The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, $48 million to The United Negro College Fund, and $54 million to The National Park Foundation to acquire the homes of Martin Luther King Jr. and other notably Black Americans.
Fund II also gifted $20 million to Cornell University to provide scholarships, graduate fellowships, and program funding for underrepresented students in STEM fields.
Moreover, Smith restored the historic Lincoln Hills fly-fishing resort in Colorado, which hosts 6,000 inner-city children and a few hundred wounded veterans each summer, he said in a 2018 interview. The resort also includes a ranch house catering for foster children who have aged out of the system.