Google co-founder Larry Page has reportedly been living off the grid for more than a year, hiding out in Fiji on isolated islands away from tourists as the pandemic swept the world.
Fijian health officials even pressured a TV network to pull a story about him donating COVID-19 medical supplies to the country, as the tech titan went out of his way to avoid the public.
Page, 48, has become reclusive over the past several years – avoiding being photographed except for a handful of times since stepping down as CEO of Google’s parent company Alphabet Inc. in 2019.
He has spent months in Fiji during the coronavirus pandemic – mostly on the island of Tavarua – and it has been rumored the billionaire has bought at least one island in the country’s Mamanuca archipelago, sources told Insider.
Page has also been spotted an a smaller island called Namotu – which a sailor named Lorenzo Cipriani claimed Page bought in a blog post in August.
He had taken his private jet to donate COVID-19 medical supplies to Fiji last month as a second wave of the pandemic hit the country – which was reported by Fijian Broadcasting Company News on June 19, according to Insider.
However, that story has since disappeared from the state-owned news site – and sources told Insider that health officials in Fiji asked for it to come down, claiming that the information should not have been made public.
A source confirmed to DailyMail.com that the article had been removed after health officials asked for the story to be taken down because ‘they didn’t want the donation highlighted.’
Google co-founder Larry Page has reportedly been living off the grid, hiding out in Fiji
Sources said that Page and his wife Lucinda Southworth (pictured together), who have two children, have been seen surfing on traditional and electronic surfboards
Page has spent months in Fiji during the coronavirus pandemic – mostly on the island of Tavarua
The article appears to have also since been scrubbed from Google.
DailyMail.com has reached out to Fijian Broadcasting Company News for more information and additional comment.
According to Insider, the story had reported that Page flew from Hawaii to Fiji’s Nadi International Airport to provide the country with medical supplies including masks, gowns and gloves.
A photo of Page’s jet was posted to Twitter on June 19 by a Fijian journalist, who captioned the post: ‘One of the Co-Founders of Google Larry Page donated cartons of COVID-19 supplies to Fiji as the country battles its second wave of the virus.’
The plane’s call sign 813QS, pictured on one of its engines, is licensed to Blue City Holdings, according to the Federal Communications Commission .
Blue City Holdings manages a fleet for Page and his co-founder Sergey Brin, as well as former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, Insider reported.
According to Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Page has a net worth of approximately $117 billion making him the sixth-wealthiest person in the world, one seat above Brin and one seat below Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg.
And his wealth allowed him to enter Fiji even as the country closed its borders to traditional travelers, sources told Insider.
Fiji’s ‘Blue Lane’ initiative lets the super wealthy visit the archipelago on their superyachts and private jets, even when other travelers were banned.
‘Super yachts are welcomed with open arms for which access procedures are easier, while for sailing boats like ours it is not easy,’ Lorenzo Cipriani wrote in his blog post.
‘The government are promoting a campaign welcoming those who have a lot of money to spend and are awaiting the arrival of hundreds of luxury yachts.’
Cipriani added: ‘To give an example, Larry Page, the founder of Google, bought the island of Namotu (just a few miles in front of us), and arrived there by private jet to spend three months on vacation with 30 of his staff.’
‘Whilst they are here, some local suppliers and tourism service agencies will work almost exclusively for them – escapees from the pandemic who have landed in paradise.’
Sources said that Page and his wife Lucinda Southworth, who have two children, have been seen surfing on traditional and electronic surfboards near the country’s islands, and that ‘he’s good at it, too.’
Google’s co-founders Page and Brin, who still hold incredible control over the company despite having both stepped away, have largely avoided scrutiny while stepping out of the limelight.
In recent months, Google and companies like Apple, Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon have been hit with high-profile lawsuits and made to testify during congressional hearings.
Earlier this month, dozens of U.S. state attorneys general filed a 144-page antitrust lawsuit in federal court against Alphabet Inc’s Google on Wednesday, court documents obtained by DailyMail.com show.
It claims Google violated the Sherman Act, the federal law prohibiting monopolistic business practices.
The lawsuit reads: ‘Google has employed anticompetitive tactics to diminish and disincentivize competition in Android app distribution.’
‘Google has not only targeted potentially competing app stores, but also has ensured that app developers themselves have no reasonable choice but to distribute their apps through the Google Play Store,’ it added.
Google requires that some apps use the company’s payment tools and give Google as much as 30% of digital goods sales.
The lawsuit reads that: ‘Google also requires all app developers that sell content through the Google Play Store to sell any digital in-app content through Google Play Billing.’
‘Google now stringently enforces this tie by preventing apps distributed through the Google Play Store from using, directing consumers to, or even informing consumers about alternative payment processing options that may provide lower prices.’
As the new CEO of Alphabet Inc., Pichai appeared before congress in May – though Insider noted that he and Page talk regularly.
Pichai testified on a wide range of issues including extremism such as those who rioted at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, misinformation, cyberbullying, climate change and the coronavirus, the Washington Post reported.
Nell Minow, vice chair of consulting firm ValueEdge Advisors, called Page’s relationship with the company he co-founded ‘unusual’ in comments to Insider.
‘It’s certainly unusual, and it’s certainly not good corporate governance,’ Minow said. ‘You don’t normally see someone who’s still involved with the company hang a ‘gone fishing’ sign on the door and disappear.’