Her name has been out of the news for quite a few years, but songwriting socialite Denise Rich is back in the headlines, this time for renouncing her U.S. citizenship—reportedly so she can avoid millions of dollars in annual taxes as a citizen of Austria, which gives its people tax breaks when they spend part of the year abroad.
Rich appeared under her maiden name, Denise Eisenberg, in a quarterly listing of Americans who renounced their U.S. citizenship, according to Reuters.
Of course it was tax avoidance that brought Rich to national prominence the first time, years after her former husband, billionaire Marc Rich, fled the country in 1983 after being indicted in federal court for evading more than $48 million in taxes and charged with 51 counts of tax fraud, including illegal oil deals with Iran during the hostage crisis. On President Bill Clinton’s last day in office in 2001, he pardoned Rich—after his wife had donated huge amounts to his presidential campaign and library. Denise Rich was hauled before Congress to investigate whether Clinton pardoned her ex-husband—whom she divorced in 1996—in exchange for the money, but Denise invoked the 5th amendment and refused to say anything.
Rich, who took up songwriting after winning a songwriting contest, has written chart-topping hits for artists ranging from Aretha Franklin and Jessica Simpson to Marc Anthony and Diana Ross. She was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, but has Austrian citizenship through he deceased father. A family friend told Reuters that she was moving to Austria to be closer to her family and her long-time partner, Pete Cervinka.