Turkey, which has fast become a highly desirable destination for both European and Asian investors, has now piqued the interest of Latin Americans. After Carlos Slim, the world's richest businessman with a fortune worth 69 billion dollars, another Lebanese-rooted Ottoman descendent is seeking out investments in Turkey. Safra Group's Chairman of the Executive Board, Joseph Safra, whose fortune measured 13.8 billion dollars, making him the 52nd richest person in the world, is now looking into Turkey for investment possibilities. According to Safra Group officials, Joseph Safra, who is also the second richest person in Brazil, has recently come to Turkey and spoken with a number of firms here.
IT STARTED IN ISTANBUL
Joseph Safra was born in Beirut in 1939. After working in the family business, Safra went into banking. His father, Jacob Safra moved to Brazil after years of working in Alexandria, Aleppo and Istanbul. In the 1950's the Safra family continued working in the finance sector in Latin America. The Brazilian Banco Safra also continued to grow international.
Joseph Safra, the owner of the Safra National Bank of New York and Safra Asset Management Corporation in the States, in Switzerland of Bank Jacob Safra, in France the Banque Safra, in Luxembourg the Banque Safra-Luxembourg S.A, in the Cayman Islands Banco Safra, in the Bahamas Safra International Bank and Trust most recently purchased the Sarasin Bank, a wing of the Dutch based Rabobank. In 2007, Sarasin Bank announced plans to open a bank in Turkey.
In 1999, the Safra family suffered a great tragedy. Joseph Safra's brother Edmond Safra was murdered in his luxurious mansion in France, French police found Edmond Safra stabbed to death in the bathroom, while his wife and children hid to survive.
SLIM CONSIDERS TELEKOM AND EDUCATION
Last week Minister of Economy Zafer Çağlayan met with Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim while visiting the country. Slim's investment team decided to conduct feasibility studies on telecommunication and remote communication. Çağlayan had announced, "Carlos Slim explained that he had plans to invest in East Europe. I said, 'don't go there, come to Turkey'. They are considering tablet PCs or investing in remote education. I suggested that we form a joint committee in order to evaluate what could be done in Turkey. When I told them that we had 66 million cell phone users, they were surprised and made notes of it. I hope that they will make some surprises."
MEXICANS PURCHASE SAMSUN COMPANY
One of the most attention drawing Latin Americans to show interest in Turkey is Roberto Berrero, the owner of one of the largest banks in Mexico Banorte. Berrero's food venture Gruma recently announced the news to SABAH first of their plans to purchase Samsun's Semolina.