Geneva businessman Nessim Gaon died Tuesday at the age of 100, according to a mortuary notice published Thursday. This financier, who had made a fortune in import-export and real estate, had founded in 1980 the former five-star hotel, the Noga Hilton.
Originally from Sudan, Nessim Gaon settled in Geneva in the 1950s. Very influential in the Jewish community, Nessim Gaon created in 1972 with his wife the Sephardic Hekhal Haness synagogue in the Malagnou district. He was also vice-president of the World Jewish Congress.
A dispute with Russia
Nessim Gaon’s Noga company has long been in dispute with the Russian Federation. In question, a barter contract “oil against food” relating to 1.5 billion dollars signed in 1991. Each party accused each other of having unilaterally broken this agreement. Nessim Gaon has repeatedly attempted to seize or freeze Russian assets.
Following these disputes with the law, the financial empire of this tenacious businessman has weakened. As early as 1994, the Noga company was the subject of bankruptcy petitions. The famous five-star palace he had founded in 1980 was finally sold at auction in 2001. Since then, Nessim Gaon had been more discreet and appeared only very rarely in the media.