Mexican Jewish Billionaire Dies in Copter Crash

Mexican Jewish billionaire Moshe Saba was killed in a helicopter crash Sunday night after one of the rotors of the craft struck a building.

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Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu and Hillel Fendel, | updated: 15:13

Saba's company logo
Saba's company logo
Israel news photo

Mexican Jewish billionaire Moshe Saba, his wife, son and daughter-in-law were killed in a helicopter crash in foggy weather Sunday night outside Mexico City after one of the rotors of the craft struck a building.

Saba was one of the most influential businessmen in Mexico, and was well-known for his philanthropic endeavors on behalf of Sephardic Torah institutions in and outside of Israel. His son Alberto was married last year, and the couple leaves behind a two-month-old daughter. A "terrible, unspeakable tragedy," said one Israeli rabbi who knew him.

Saba held large investments in the textile industry and real estate and communications firms, including the Mexican television Azteca network. The 47-year-old mogul’s holding company, Grupo Casa Saba, is one of Mexico’s largest pharmaceutical distributors. Founded in 1892, the company offers more than 16,000 different products to pharmacies, grocery stores, government agencies, bookstores, and other wholesalers through distribution centers across Mexico.

Four years ago, Saba made an unsuccessful bid for the government-owned Mexicana Airlines. He was known in Israel for having expressed interest in buying out Channel 10 television in Israel before dropping the idea.

Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard arrived at the scene of the crash in a wooded area, together with Saba's relatives and members of the close-knit Jewish community.

Moshe Saba was considered very close to Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef, former Chief Rabbi of Israel and spiritual leader of the Shas party. He was known for having made sizable contributions to many yeshivot around the country, and often visited with rabbis when he came to Israel.