Joseph Safra, a Brazilian Jewish banker, has died at the age of 82. Safra was the world’s richest banker. According to a statement released by his J. Safra Sarasin organization, the billionaire died of natural causes.
According to Forbes. Joseph Safra was worth an estimated $23.2 billion.
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Mr. Safra was born in 1938 in Lebanon and immigrated to Brazil in the 60’s continuing his father’s business and building the J. Safra Group. In 1969, he married Vicky Sarfaty, with whom he had 4 children and 14 grandchildren. While born in Lebanon, his family came from Aleppo in Syria. There his family had a successful business in the camel trade.
When people think of successful Jews in the fields of banking and finance they think of Ashkenazic European Jews, or Israelis, like George Soros or the people who founded Goldman Sachs. But George Soros was a Sephardic Middle Eastern Jew who immigrated not to North America, but Latin America.
He was the owner of the 8th largest bank in Brazil. He also owned J. Safra Sarasin in Switzerland which Safra established in 2013 after a merger. His son David manages Banco Safra in Brazil; his son Alberto left the bank’s board of directors in October 2019. Joseph Safra was also the owner of 50% of banana grower Chiquita Brands International.
J. Safra Sarasin described Joseph Safra as a loving and insightful man, who dedicated his life to family, friends, business and social causes. The organization also called him a great banker, and, “a great leader and very respected inside and outside the organization.” Who lived an, “an exemplary and reserved life, without ostentation and far from the public exposure.”
Joseph Safra was an arts lover and a philanthropist, always committed to maintaining the tradition of devotion to worthy causes. He helped many people and supported countless social, religious and cultural causes, such as the construction and renovation of hospitals, day care centers, museums and religious temples of all faiths. He had a great responsibility to society.
The J. Safra Sarasin Group is an international group committed to sustainability and well established through its banks in more than 25 locations in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America, J. Safra Sarasin Group is a “global symbol of private banking tradition, emphasizing security and well-managed conservative growth for clients.”
The J. Safra Sarasin Group is part of the family-owned J. Safra Group, a highly regarded name in global Private Banking with a long and successful history.