October 21, 1913|
Czernowitz, Bukovina, Austria-Hungary [now Chernivtsi, Ukraine]
|Died||June 11, 1998
|Known for||Datsun/Nissan UK
Automotive Financial Group (AFG)
Octav Botnar (October 21, 1913 – July 11, 1998) was a self-made businessman who founded Datsun UK (later Nissan UK) and its associated car retail business Automotive Financial Group (AFG), and a noted philanthropist, who donated over £100 million in his lifetime.
He was born in Chernivtsi, which was then called Czernowitz and belonged to Austria-Hungary. During his childhood, in 1918, Austria-Hungary dissolved and his hometown, renamed Cernăuţi, became part of Romania. Under its present name it is now part of Ukraine.
He spent 1932–1936 in prison. Afterwards, he moved to France, where he spent World War II. He returned to Romania in 1946 and remained there until 1960. He fled Communist Eastern Europe, in 1966 by way of Germany to Worthing in England, where he founded Datsun UK (now Nissan UK) in 1970, although he reputedly lived in Switzerland, France and Monaco. After being implicated in tax fraud offences in relation to his Nissan import business, he fled to Switzerland in 1991 to avoid trouble with the police (according to the British authorities, he evaded more than £200 million in taxes) and died in Villars-sur-Ollon, Switzerland
The Nissan UK and AFG businesses subsequently foundered, after Nissan took its UK distribution and import activities completely in-house in 1991.
- Obituary of Octav Botnar, Talking Motors 20 July 1998
- "about page". Camelia Botnar Foundation. Retrieved 26 June 2016.