Did Paypal's Peter Thiel buy his New Zealand home as 'apocalypse insurance'?

The country is becoming increasingly popular with Silicon Valley billionaires

Jon Sharman
Thursday 02 February 2017 18:38
Peter Thiel
Peter Thiel

PayPal founder and venture capitalist Peter Thiel has bought a property on the South Island of New Zealand, where he recently became a citizen.

The country has recently gained a reputation for being a favourite for the super-rich of Silicon Valley who fear a doomsday scenario like a nuclear attack or political meltdown in the US. Many have bought bunkers and other property in the country/

Reid Hoffman, the co-founder of business network LinkedIn, told The New Yorker magazine that "buying a house in New Zealand" has become code for obtaining "apocalypse insurance".

The investor added that he believes that numerous tech billionaires have acquired hideaways either in the US or abroad.

It is unclear what inspired Mr Thiel's property purchase.

Mr Thiel, who backed Hulk Hogan's $140 million (£111 million) lawsuit against the now defunct gossip website Gawker, became a dual US-New Zealand citizen in 2011, although he had never lived in the country.

A senior politician in the country decided his entrepreneurial skills and philanthropy were valuable to the country, according to Associated Press.

In his application he wrote: "In the course of pursing my international business opportunities, my travel, personal philosophical commitments and benefaction, I am happy to say categorically that I have found no other country that aligns more with my view of the future than New Zealand."

Mr Thiel, who was the first professional investor in Facebook, has invested millions in New Zealand and has called the country "utopia".

A number of his companies there have names inspired by The Lord of the Rings, the move adaptation of which was set in New Zealand.

The Independent has contacted Mr Thiel's representatives for comment but none had arrived at the time of publication.

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