When billionaire Robert Smith ended his 2019 Morehouse Collegecommencement speech by vowing to pay off student debt for the entire graduating class, cheers of “MVP, MVP, MVP!” rose from students and faculty on the Atlanta campus.
What the audience didn’t know was that Smith was harboring a financial secret. He was being pursued by Justice Department prosecutors and Internal Revenue Service agents for potential tax crimes, according to four people familiar with the matter.
Federal authorities have spent four years examining whether Smith failed to pay U.S. taxes on about $200 million in assets that moved through offshore structures, some of those people said. Smith hasn’t been charged, and prosecutors may conclude he owes no taxes on those assets.
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