Wealthiest Black man in America Robert Smith to pay $140 million over tax probe

Abu Mubarik October 15, 2020
Since its inception in 2000, Vista Equity Partners has carved out a niche for itself; fixing up enterprise software outfits, and presently has a value of about $46 billion in assets. Photo via Morehouse College on Twitter

Billionaire Robert Smith, the Chief Executive Officer of Vista Equity Partners and the wealthiest Black man in the U.S. will pay $140 million to end a four-year investigation for tax crimes, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday. 

Smith, 57, as part of the settlement, will not be prosecuted but he must admit wrongdoing and cooperate with investigations, Bloomberg reported. The $140 million deal reportedly arose from back taxes, penalties and interest and could be made public on Thursday, October 15, 2020.

In August, it was reported that Smith was under investigation by the Department of Justice after he failed to pay taxes on about 200 million in assets that moved through offshore accounts tied to Robert Brockman, CEO of software company Reynolds and Reynolds. The $200 million reportedly was part of a $1 billion investment from Brockman that originated from a charitable trust in Bermuda. 

Brockman has been the subject of a grand jury investigation in San Francisco into whether he committed tax and money-laundering crimes, Bloomberg reported.

Jan Woloniecki, a Bermudian lawyer, told Bloomberg that the case against Brockman could deal with as much as $1.5 billion, which investigators believe has been “concealed fraudulently from the U.S. government.”

According to Bloomberg, Smith has been on the radar of the Internal Revenue Service since 2014. His tax woes began after he reportedly failed to file proper reports of foreign bank and financial accounts.

Smith, with a reported net worth of $7 billion, got extensive praise in 2019 when he announced that he would pay off the student loan debt of each graduate of Morehouse College.

Just weeks after the announcement, the well-known philanthropist and private equity fund CEO showed his generosity again as he launched an internship program for ethnically underrepresented students.

The program, called InternX, will guarantee 1,000 students from ethnically underrepresented groups a paid summer internship in the fields of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). Rising sophomores with a 2.8 GPA or higher are eligible, Atlanta Black Star reports, adding that AT&T, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte and CitiGroup are currently some of the companies that will take InternX candidates.

Smith is the Chairman and CEO of Vista Equity Partners, a private equity company he founded in 2000. The company has carved a niche for itself fixing up enterprise software outfits and today has a value of about $46 billion in assets. Smith is ranked number 355 on Forbes’ 2019 billionaires list.

The businessman and philanthropist with a bias for educational and entrepreneurship development is among a growing number of high-net-worth black personalities who are using their wealth to improve society.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: October 15, 2020


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