One of the richest women in the world, a billionaire from the Rio Grande do Sul Lily Safra died at age 87 in Geneva this Saturday, the 9th.
The ex-wife of Edmond Safra, a banker who died in 1999, the widow had a fortune of US$ 1.3 billion (about R$ 5 billion), according to an annual list by Forbes magazine. The estate was an inheritance left by Safra, who died in an arson attack in Monaco – at the time, the case fueled conspiracy theories, but the nurse who took care of the billionaire was found guilty of death. The cause of death was not disclosed. Burial will take place on Monday at 10 am in Geneva.
Safra was Lily’s fourth husband, whom she married in 1976. Before, she was married to businessman Alfredo Monteverde, founder of Ponto Frio, and found dead in 1969 in her own apartment with two shots. Then the widow inherited and took over the retailer’s business.
In 2009, Lily sold her stake in Ponto Frio to Grupo Pão de Açúcar (GPA) for R$824.5 million, which helped to increase her equity. In 2015, the widow won a lawsuit against the group for feeling harmed in the way the sale was paid. At the time, the billionaire took another R$ 212 million in compensation, in addition to interest and monetary corrections.
Lily is the daughter of Russian immigrants and was born in Rio Grande do Sul. Despite being modest, her parents did not skimp on her education. From an early age, she learned to speak English and French. She liked to dress elegantly and attend parties. It was in one of them that she met her first husband, the Argentine Mario Cohen, whom she married at age 19. From this marriage, she had three children: Adriana, Eduardo, and Claudio, who died in a car accident in 1989.
In 2008, Lily participated in what has so far been the world’s most expensive real estate transaction, selling the Vila Leopoldina mansion on the Côte d’Azur in southern France for $1.2 billion to a Russian billionaire. In belle époque style, it occupies an area of 80 thousand square meters, has a garden of olive trees, in addition to lemon and orange trees. The Brazilian received the property as an inheritance in 1999 – before, the mansion belonged to the Agnelli family, owner of Fiat.
In 2012, the widow held a charity auction of her jewelry, raising US$ 37.5 million with an organization by the brand Christie’s. The money raised would be used in the search for a cure for rare diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease, from which Safra suffered.