Jewish-Brazilian Joseph Safra, 81, is the world’s wealthiest banker with $25.2 billion net worth.
Safra owns banking and investment empire which include, among other businesses, Banco Safra, 8th largest bank in Brazil, Switzerland’s private bank J Safra Sarasin, and Safra National Bank of New York.
Safra, who was born to a long bloodline of bankers, in the bustling city of Beirut, in Lebanon. His family financed and exchanged gold and currency among merchants from the Ottoman Empire, Europe, and Africa.
His father Jacob Safra had already established a leading bank in the city of Aleppo, Syria. Jacob has had three sons. Brothers Joseph, Moise, and Edmond.
At the end of World War One, in 1952, the Safra family were to leave Beirut, initially settling in Italy, before dispersing across the world settling in Brazil, where they built up a huge business empire, principally based around banking.
In 2006, Moise sold half of its stake in Safra banking to Joseph for an estimated $2 billion and began to diversify his business interests. Moise has passed away at the age of 79 from complications of Parkinson’s Disease, in June 2014.
Edmond has died in December 1999 at the age of 67. He was asphyxiated in a locked bathroom of his Monte Carlo penthouse, in a conflagration that engulfed in the middle of the night. His nurse was convicted of a crime for starting the fire.