New York; São Paulo
Joseph Safra 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 prolific philanthropist, he has contributed to many organizations, including Harvard’s Center for Ethics and the science campus of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Safra is known for a collection that includes Old Masters and Impressionism as well as a tendecy toward discretion.