Business Insider calls Joseph Safra “the richest banker in the world.” He was born in Beirut to a wealthy Jewish banking family and moved to São Paulo, where he founded the mega Banco Safra in the 1960s. He owns properties worldwide, but one very high-profile acquisition was the city of London’s Gherkin skyscraper, for which Safra spent more than £700 million ($1.1 billion). A great philanthropist, he has contributed to many organizations, including Harvard’s Center for Ethics and the science campus of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Safra, whose collection includes Old Masters and Impressionism, is known for his discretion.

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Joseph Safra

Geneva; New York; São Paulo

Source of wealth:

Collecting area:
Impressionism; Old Masters

Top 200 appearance:
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Fun fact:

The New York Times reported in 2015 that Safra "is known to be kind and humble, cooking meals for family and calling on confidants regularly." In the article, Jack Terpins, president of the Latin American Jewish Congress, said, “He thinks about his business 24 hours a day, but he found time to call me every day when I was in the hospital after heart surgery."