Moise Safra, the Brazilian billionaire who was part of the wealthy Safra banking family, died on Saturday from complications of Parkinson’s disease, Bloomberg News reports. He was 79.
Safra had an estimated net worth of $US2.2 billion, according to Forbes. He sold his half of Banco Safra to his brother Joseph in 2006.
After selling his stake in the family banking business, Safra began investing in real estate. According to Forbes, Safra spent $US810 million on an office building in London, and partnered with Chinese real estate billionaire Zhang Xin to buy a 40 per cent stake in the General Motors building in Manhattan. Safra also has named after him a Manhattan community center, currently under construction, and an auditorium in the Albert Einstein Iraelite Hospital in Sao Paulo.
The Safra banking legacy started with Moise’s great-great-grandfather in the Ottoman Empire. At the beginning of the twentieth century, Moise’s father Jacob opened the Jacob E. Safra Bank in Beirut, and the family’s business grew to include Safra SA (now Banco Safra de Investimento), the Trade Development Bank in Geneva, and the Republic National Bank of New York.
Moise Safra’s siblings are well-known for their banking experience and wealth. His brother Joseph Safra is the richest banker on the planet with an estimated $US16.5 billion net worth today. Moise Safra’s other brother, Edmond, entered the family banking business at age 16, helped build the Safra empire, and died mysteriously in 1999 from arson. Edmond’s widow and wealthy Brazilian heiress, Lily Safra, is also on the Forbes billionaire list with a net worth of $US1.3 billion.
Safra is survived by his wife, Chella Cohen Safra, and his five children.