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Banco Safra co-founder Moise Safra dies, aged 79

Brazilian banker Moise Safra, who founded Safra Group with his brothers in the 1950s, has died in Sao Paulo aged 79.

The billionaire, who is estimated to be worth approximately $2.2 billion (€1.6 billion), along with his family was ranked the second wealthiest in the Latin American country, according to Forbes, with a combined net worth of $20.1 billion.

Little information has been released about his death, however, it has been reported that Safra had been suffering with Parkinson’s disease and had been under observation at Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein for several days in the lead up to his death on 14 June.

According to Reuters, he was buried the next day at Cemiterio Israelita do Butanta, Sao Paulo.

Safra was born in Lebanon in 1935 into a wealthy banking family.

His family moved to Brazil in 1952, and here, along with his brothers, Edmond and Joseph, Safra founded Banco Safra.

Following years of dispute over the direction of the family bank, Joseph, bought out his older brother’s stake, reportedly paying $2.5 billion for Safra’s 50% share in the bank. Their elder brother, Edmond, had been killed in 1999 by a fire at his Monaco home.

Safra made the news last year when he partnered with Chinese developer Zhang Xin and bought a 40% share in New York’s famous General Motors Building.

The pair reportedly paid $1.4 billion for the acquisition. Safra had also paid $810 million in 2012 for an office building in London.

Safra was a prominent philanthropist and put much of his fortune into funding health, education and charitable projects.

He was married to Chella Cohen Safra, and the pair had five children.  

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