The New Zealand Herald:
A scheme funded by New Zealand taxpayers netted billionaire Peter Thiel tens of millions of dollars while his publicly funded investment partner barely broke even.
The partnering of Thiel’s Valar Ventures and the Government-owned New Zealand Venture Investment Fund (NZVIF) was launched by minister Steven Joyce in March 2012, nine months after Thiel took his oath of citizenship at the New Zealand consulate in Santa Monica.
Joyce said at the time the venture was “part of the Government’s comprehensive business growth agenda”, but a Herald investigation has discovered the arrangement was quietly ended in October when Thiel activated a generous buyback option allowing him and his private partners to claim all profits from the venture by cheaply buying out his public co-investor.
This, a footnote in NZVIF’s 2016 Annual Report, shows the since-abandoned clause allowed Thiel to take-over the fund for a nominal price if its investments did well, meaning profits would be privatised, while taxpayers were still exposed if it tanked.
Valar and Thiel did not respond to questions about the buyback this week, and have also declined to comment after numerous requests from both local and international media about the wider issue of his Kiwi citizenship.
Chaos isn’t a pit. Chaos is a ladder.