Joseph Safra

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Joseph Safra
Born1938 (age 80–81)[1]
Beirut, Lebanon
ResidenceSão Paulo, Brazil[2]
Net worthUS$24.1 billion (January 2018)
Spouse(s)Vicky Sarfati
Parent(s)Jacob Safra (father)
FamilyMoise Safra (brother)
Edmond Safra (brother)
Lily Safra (sister-in-law)

Joseph Safra (Arabic: يوسف صفرا‎ ; born 1938) is a Brazilian Lebanese billionaire banker who runs the Brazilian banking and investment empire, Safra Group. He is the chairman of all Safra companies, among them Safra National Bank of New York and Banco Safra headquartered in São Paulo, Brazil.[2] Safra has a net worth of $24.1 billion.[3] He is of Syrian Jewish origin, and comes from the Safra family.[4]

Early life[edit]

Joseph Safra was born in Beirut, Lebanon,[5] to a Jewish Lebanese/Syrian family with banking connections dating back to Ottoman times,[6][7] and grew up in Beirut, Lebanon.[8] The family's history in banking originated with caravan trade between Beirut, Aleppo, Alexandria and Istanbul during the Ottoman Empire.

The Safra family moved to Brazil in 1952. In 1955, Joseph's 23-year-old brother, Edmond Safra, and his father, Jacob Safra, started working in Brazil by financing assets in São Paulo. But soon, Edmond Safra separated from his brothers Joseph and Moise and headed to New York where he founded the Republic National Bank of New York (which he later sold to HSBC in 1999 and donated most of his money to the Edmond Safra Foundation). Joseph Safra founded Banco Safra in 1955 and today it is reportedly the 6th largest private bank in Brazil. He remains the chairman of the Safra Group offering banking services throughout Europe, North and South America.

Joseph Safra acquired the remaining shares of Safra Group companies from his brother Moise Safra. The two brothers maintain a shareholding in Fibria Cellulose. He has four children: Jacob J. Safra, Esther Safra Dayan, Alberto J. Safra, David J. Safra.[9]


In 2013, Joseph Safra's family acquired more than a dozen properties in the U.S., primarily in New York City. They also own a portfolio of commercial real estate in Brazil.[10] In 2014 Safra paid more than £700 million to buy The Gherkin – one of the most distinctive towers in the City of London.[11][12]

Business holdings[edit]


  1. ^ "The Safra Dynasty: The Mysterious Family Of The Richest Banker In The World". Retrieved 17 August 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d Forbes: The World's Billionaires - Joseph Safra November 2014
  3. ^ "Joseph Safra". Forbes. Retrieved 13 July 2017.
  4. ^ "The world's 50 Richest Jews: 11-20". Retrieved 17 August 2018.
  5. ^ Jerusalem Post: The world's 50 Richest Jews: 11-20 retrieved 16 November 2014
  6. ^ Kasmira Jefford, Gherkin bought by Safra Group: Meet the Brazilian-Lebanese billionaire behind the £700m deal, City A.M., 11 November 2014
  7. ^ "Meet Joseph Safra, The Richest Banker On The Planet". Business Insider.
  8. ^ New York Times: "INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS; The Safras of Brazil: Banking, Faith and Security" By SIMON ROMERO 8 December 1999
  9. ^ [1] retrieved 1 December 2015
  10. ^ "Joseph Safra". Forbes. Retrieved 13 March 2017.
  11. ^ "China's CC Land buys London's cheesegrater for £1.15 billion". Mail Online. Retrieved 13 March 2017.
  12. ^ "Safra snaps up the Gherkin for £726m". Retrieved 13 March 2017.

External links[edit]