Thursday, March 27, 2008

Exporting Money

An Israeli billionaire who served in the Royal Navy during the Second World War has given £20 million to build a new wing at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich.

The gift from Sammy Ofer, an 86-year-old shipping magnate, is thought to be the biggest single donation by an individual to any cultural institution in the UK. It will help finance a new £35 million extension at the Greenwich site, on the Thames in southeast London, that will include a large exhibition hall and an archive centre.

Mr Ofer was born in Romania in 1922 but emigrated to the British mandate of Palestine with his family as a young child. He enlisted with the Royal Navy during the War, serving in the Mediterranean, and then went to serve in the Israeli Sea Corps during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.

He then became a shipping agent, buying his first ship in 1950, and now owns, with his brother Juli, one of the world's biggest private shipping companies as well as other diversified interests. Forbes magazine puts his family's wealth at $3.9 billion, making him the 226th richest man in the world.


No comments: