Israel's richest man Sammy Ofer dies at 89

By Jennifer Lipman, June 3, 2011
Sammy Ofer

Sammy Ofer

The man at the centre of a controversy over whether an Israeli company flouted the law by trading with Iran has died.

Sammy Ofer, a shipping magnate said by Forbes to be the 109th richest man in the world, was 89.

Mr Ofer and his brother Yuli owned Zim Integrated Shipping Services. The shipping company made headlines last month in Israel after it was sanctioned by the US government for trading with Iran.

Both Israel and the US have pushed for stricter sanctions on trading with the country and the charge was an embarrassment to Israel and the Ofer brothers.

The family said the $5.2 million deal was conducted unwittingly via a Singapore subsidiary and that they were embarrassed.

In 2008 Mr Ofer, who served in the Navy during World War II, was given an honorary KBE in recognition of his services to UK maritime heritage.

The tycoon had donated considerably to the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich and helped fund the repairs to the Cutty Sark after it was damaged in a fire.

Last updated: 9:48am, June 3 2011