May 24 (Reuters) - The United States has imposed sanctions on seven companies for engaging in trade with Iran in violation of a U.S. ban. [ID:nN24277213]
One of those companies is the Ofer Brothers Group of Israel, which is accused of providing a tanker to the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines.
The Ofer Brothers have denied ever having sold ships to Iran. [ID:nLDE74N20T]
Here are some facts about the Ofer Brothers:
* Brothers Sammy and Yuli have an estimated fortune of $10.3 billion. Romanian-born Sammy, 84, is the wealthiest man in Israel and ranked No. 79 on the Forbes list of wealthiest people in the world.
* The Ofers made their fortune in the shipping industry and own Zim, Israel's largest container shipping company.
* They own a $1 billion stake in Royal Caribbean Cruises (RCL.N).
* The Ofers own a controlling stake in Mizrahi-Tefahot (MZTF.TA), Israel's fourth-largest bank.
* Sammy is a well-known art lover and collector.
* The Ofers control Israel Corp. (ILCO.TA), one of Israel's largest holding companies. Sammy's son Idan is a director and former chairman. Israel Corp owns stakes in Israel Chemicals (ICL.TA), the world's sixth-largest potash producer, Israel Oil Refineries (ORL.TA), Tower Semiconductor (TSEM.TA) (TSEM.O), and Zodiac Maritime Agency.
* Israel Corp is a main investor in the Better Place electric car venture.
* In 2008, Sammy Ofer was made an honorary knight commander of the Order of the British Empire for his services to UK maritime heritage. That same year, he donated 20 million pounds to London's National Maritime Museum, which according to the Sunday Times was the single largest donation to a British cultural project.