Peter Thiel became New Zealand citizen in California in 2011

Peter Thiel became New Zealand citizen in California in 2011

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) – Silicon Valley billionaire and President Donald Trump adviser 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 to the nation, documents reveal.

Thiel didn’t even have to leave California to become a new member of the South Pacific nation. He was granted citizenship during a private ceremony held at the New Zealand Consulate in Santa Monica.

The New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs on Wednesday released 145 pages of partially redacted documents detailing how Thiel became a citizen.

His status was first reported by The New Zealand Herald newspaper last month and raised questions because Thiel didn’t fulfil the usual criteria requiring people to live in the country.

In his application, Thiel wrote that he owned a home in New Zealand but if he was granted citizenship, he would need to continue residing in the U.S. to manage his California-based companies.

He said he realized his circumstances wouldn’t usually qualify him for citizenship, but that he believed he was an exception.

Close Menu