(Corrects to say Safra suffered heart attack on Friday, died
Sunday in paragraphs 1-2)
By Guillermo Parra-Bernal
SAO PAULO, June 15 Moise Y. Safra, a billionaire
member of the Safra family of financiers, who for over half a
century have catered to an affluent clientele spanning from São
Paulo to New York and Monte Carlo, died on Sunday, two sources
with knowledge of the situation said. He was 79.
One of the sources said Moise, the second of the three Safra
brothers who founded the Safra Group in the mid-1950s in São
Paulo, had been under observation at the Hospital Israelita
Albert Einstein for a few days. The financier, who suffered a
heart attack on Friday, had struggled with Parkinson's Disease
in recent years, said the source, who was not allowed to discuss
the matter publicly.
Moise Safra was buried in São Paulo on Sunday, a second
source told Reuters.
As a member of Brazil's most prominent Jewish business clan,
Safra was deeply involved in Jewish community affairs in Brazil,
spending a great deal of his time and fortune funding health,
education and charity projects and paying for the construction
of synagogues and community centers.
Efforts to reach several spokespeople for the Safra family
in New York and São Paulo were unsuccessful.
The Safras stood out among a number of Brazilian families
whose businesses grew transnational but also remained loyal to
their local roots. Moise Safra was born into a wealthy banking
family, of Jewish tradition, in Syria. The Safras moved to
Brazil in 1952 and in 1955 he joined his father Jacob and older
brother Edmond in the business of trade financing in São Paulo.
Years later, Moise became a Brazilian citizen.
His younger brother Joseph reportedly paid $2.5 billion for
Moise's 50 percent stake in Banco Safra SA in 2006, putting an
end to years of disputes over direction of the bank. Edmond, the
family's older sibling and one of the most prominent private
bankers of the past century, died in December 1999 in an arson
attack at his Monte Carlo penthouse that shocked the banking
Moise Safra's fortune was estimated at $2.2 billion by
Forbes Magazine this year. He was married to Chella Cohen Safra,
with whom he had five children.
(Additional reporting by Asher Levine in São Paulo; Editing by