Sammy Ofer to move back to Israel from London

The 87 year-old tycoon has already become an Israeli resident to take advantage of tax breaks.

Sammy Ofer has decided to move back to Israel from London. According to "Forbes", Ofer is one of the richest Israelis, and his fortune together with his brother Yuli is estimated at $4 billion. The UK Sunday Times 2009 Rich List named Sammy Ofer and his son Eyal as Britain's eighth most wealthy people with a fortune of ₤2.677 billion. Sammy Ofer has reportedly already officially changed his status to an Israeli resident to take advantage of generous new tax breaks for returning Israelis. He already owns a luxury apartment in Tel Aviv's Akirov Towers.

The Ofer family owns Ofer Group, which controls Israel Corporation (TASE: ILCO). Israel Corp owns Zim Integrated Shipping Services Ltd., controls =new href=http://www.icl-group.com/>Israel Chemicals Ltd. (TASE: ICL), owns 45% of Oil Refineries Ltd. (TASE:ORL) and 33% each of Tower Semiconductor Ltd. (Nasdaq: TSEM; TASE:TSEM) and Better Place. The Ofers also have major business interests overseas, especially in shipping.

Ofer's two sons Idan and Eyal manage his businesses and Eyal, who also lives abroad, will probably also move back to Israel.

Sammy Ofer and his son will be following in the footsteps of billionaire film producer Arnon Milchan who earlier this week announced that he is returning to Israel from the US to take advantage of tax breaks for returning Israelis.

The Ofers will also be able to benefit from an amendment to the tax code in 2008, which was initiated by the Tax Authority and Ministry of Immigrant Absorption, which provides a raft of benefits and incentives for new immigrants and returning Israelis.

In England, Sammy Ofer was made an Honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) for his services to the UK's maritime heritage. He donated ₤20 million to the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich and ₤3 million for the restoration of the clipper ship Cutty Sark.

It was reported in Israel last month that he has donated $20 million for the construction of a new soccer stadium at the southern entrance to Haifa. Earthworks will begin in the next few week on the 34,000 seat stadium, which will be called the Sammy Ofer Stadium. Ofer withdrew a $20 million donation to the Tel Aviv Museum of Art last year after other donors objected to the museum being named for him.

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