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Austin billionaire Brian Sheth leaving Vista Equity in wake of Robert Smith tax scandal, reports say

Smith notably paid $34 million worth of student loans for 2019 graduates of Morehouse College, an HBCU in Atlanta, Georgia.

AUSTIN, Texas — Central Texas billionaire Brian Sheth is resigning from his role as president of Austin-based Vista Equity Partners, according to multiple reports.

KVUE's media partners at the Austin American-Statesman reported that Sheth's resignation comes in the wake of the tax scandal of Austin billionaire and Vista Equity Partners founder, chairman and CEO Robert F. Smith. 

A spokesperson for Smith told Forbes magazine that Sheth’s departure was not related to the case, according to the magazine.

RELATED: Austin billionaire reportedly facing federal criminal tax inquiry

In a news release sent on Thanksgiving, Vista Equity Partners said Sheth will “depart the firm effective immediately.” 

In August, Bloomberg reported that federal authorities are looking into whether Smith failed to pay U.S. taxes on about $200 million in assets that moved through offshore structures, according to four sources who are familiar with the alleged investigation.  

And in October, the Statesman reported that the U.S. Justice Department announced that Smith had agreed to pay $139 million in penalties to end a four-year investigation into those alleged tax law violations. 

RELATED: Austin billionaire fulfills $34M gift to Morehouse graduates

Smith also notably paid $34 million worth of student loans for 2019 graduates of Morehouse College, an HBCU in Atlanta, Georgia.

Sheth released the following written statement:

“I am truly grateful to Robert for my being afforded the opportunity to do transformational work so early in my career. The image Robert stands for as a diverse leader, and the values of excellence and inclusion that are in the DNA of Vista’s culture, led to more than I dreamed was possible growing up in a half-Indian, half-Irish family in a working-class community. As a team we achieved significant success while doubling down on innovation, growth and operational excellence in a sector that was largely overlooked and undervalued. The partnerships built with investors, team members, founders, and CEOs of our portfolio companies and our teamwork together inspired me greatly. The duty of protecting and growing our investor’s assets is a responsibility that I don’t take lightly. I appreciate Vista working with me to structure my departure in a way that prioritizes protecting investors, advancing the firm, rewarding the team, and ensuring core philanthropic priorities will be strongly positioned to continue forward into the future. As I continue my journey as an investor, business leader and philanthropist, I will always take great pride in what we all achieved together. I am excited to see what the next generation of investors at Vista will accomplish to evolve Vista long into the future.”

Smith founded Vista Equity Partners in 2000 and moved the firm’s headquarters to Austin in 2011. Sheth joined the firm as vice president in 2000 and was promoted to president and co-founder of Vista Equity in 2010, according to the firm

Forbes estimates that Sheth's net worth is nearly $2.3 billion. He will relinquish his minority ownership in Vista Equity amid the resignation, according to the magazine.

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