Argentine businessman Jorge Horacio Brito, one of the richest people in the country, has died, according to a statement from Banco Macro, the bank he founded. Brito, 68, died Friday afternoon following a helicopter crash in the northern province of Salta, the newspapers Clarin and La Nacion reported earlier.
In October 2017, Brito was worth about US$ 1.9 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, but his fortune slid to US$ 465 million after the market euphoria caused by Mauricio Macri’s election faded. His most valuable asset was a near 20% stake in Banco Macro, Argentina’s third largest bank without state participation. He also has interests in Banco Patagonia and Banco de Tucuman.
He remained chairman of the Macro bank and had a controlling holding in beef company Inversora Juramento, as well as a majority stake in renewables energy company Genneia SA.
Brito started his career in the 1970s with a US$ 5,000 loan from his mother, before taking advantage of political ties with governors from northern Argentina provinces to become the financial agent for their treasuries. He bought Banco Macro in 1985 and began snapping up lenders in a consolidation that culminated in a 2006 listing on the New York Stock Exchange.
He was accused of helping a business associate defraud the state and was indicted by a court in 2018. A judge dismissed the case earlier this year. He was married to Marcela Carballo and had six children and 12 grandchildren.