Joseph Safra, the world’s richest banker and the wealthiest person in Brazil, has died at age 82, his company Safra Group announced.
He died of natural causes, according to a statement from his representative.
With a fortune estimated by Forbes magazine at 23.2 billion dollars, the banker ranked as the 64th richest person in the world.
“It is with great regret that we received notice of the loss of Joseph Safra,” said the Brazilian Federation of Banks (Febraban).
The company called him an emblematic figure in the banking sector.
Safra, who was descended from bankers, “had a strategic view of the country, and set an example as an entrepreneur and philanthropist,” it said.
Born in Lebanon, Safra emigrated in the 1960s to Brazil, where he and his brother Moise built a banking and investment empire.
The family, of Syrian origin, had been engaged in financial activities since the 19th century.
Alongside his business activities, Safra “supported countless social, religious and cultural causes, such as the construction and renovation of hospitals, day care centres, museums, and religious temples of all faiths,” Safra Group said. (dpa/NAN)