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Updated: June 3, 2011 14:20 IST

Controversial Israeli billionaire Ofer dies

AP
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In this August 28, 2007 photo Israeli business tycoons Yuli Ofer, left, and his brother Sammy Ofer, right, attend a cornerstone laying ceremony for a medical centre they donated for at a Tel Aviv hospital. File . AP.
In this August 28, 2007 photo Israeli business tycoons Yuli Ofer, left, and his brother Sammy Ofer, right, attend a cornerstone laying ceremony for a medical centre they donated for at a Tel Aviv hospital. File . AP.

Shipping magnate and philanthropist Sammy Ofer was listed last year by Forbes as Israel’s richest man, and appeared as number 109 on the magazine’s global list of billionaires.

An Israeli billionaire at the centre of a recent scandal involving trade with Iran has died at age 89.

Shipping magnate and philanthropist Sammy Ofer was listed last year by Forbes as Israel’s richest man, and appeared as number 109 on the magazine’s global list of billionaires.

Ofer’s family released a statement saying he died on Friday morning at his Tel Aviv home after a long illness.

Ofer’s name had been in the news after the U.S. government sanctioned one of his companies last month for selling an oil tanker to Iran’s national shipping company through a Singapore subsidiary.

That embarrassed Israel because it has long pushed for tighter sanctions on Iran.

Along with his brother, Yuli, Sammy Ofer owned Zim Integrated Shipping Services, one of the world’s biggest container shipping companies. The Ofer brothers also controlled The Israel Corp., with assets in shipping, chemicals, energy and transportation, and had holdings in real estate and banking.

The Ofer brothers did not comment publicly on the U.S. charge. A spokesman said the $8.5 million deal, small for the massive conglomerate, was conducted unwittingly with an Iranian shell company. Nonetheless, the company said it was embarrassed.

There have been mounting calls for a legal probe of the company’s activities.


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