The Mystery Man Of Finance

It is Friday afternoon at the Republic Bank Tower on 40th Street in Manhattan, and the deepening winter shadows signal the approach of the Sabbath. Soon, it will be forbidden for devout Jews to transact business, to do work of any kind, or to ride--even in an elevator. For 24 hours, Edmond J. Safra will cut himself off from his worldwide banking empire--a $50 billion colossus whose granite strength, explosive growth, and almost Merlin-like avoidance of the troubles that have beset the banking world make Safra the envy of global finance.

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