On the list of the the wealthiest people of Great Britain, called the Sunday Times Rich List that was first published on April 2, 1989, Chernivtsi-born Octav Botnar was on 9th place with a fortune totalling £1 billion. Only 86 out of 200 ranked participants were self-made businessmen, and Botnar was at the top of this list.
Botnar has established himself as the first network car dealer in the UK that at the same time provided maintenance services. In 1970, he acquired the exclusive rights to sell Datsun vehicles, that eventually became known as Nissan.
By the late 1980s, Nissan UK network was comprised of more than 200 dealerships in all UK regions, and Botnar was already negotiating the possibility to build similar networks with Fiat and Hyndai, but his plans were ruined by a tax evasion lawsuit.
Although the British tax office eventually dropped the case, the damage to the reputation of one of Britain’s most successful private companies in the second half of the 20th century was devastating.
According to Botnar, the lawsuit was instigated by the car producer itself in order to take over the most successful foreign dealership network. Whether or not it was true is still unknown, however at the end of the day Nissan did acquire Nissan UK in 1991.