Tamir Sapir

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Tamir Sapir
Born Temur Sepiashvili
Tbilisi, Georgian SSR, USSR
Died September 26, 2014 (aged 67)
Residence Kings Point, New York, U.S.[2]
Ethnicity Jewish
Citizenship United States
Occupation Businessman, investor
Net worth Steady US $ 1.4 billion (est.)
(February 2010)[1]
Religion Judaism
Spouse(s) Bella Sapir (divorced)
Elena Ponomareva

with Bella:
--Alex Sapir
--Zina Sapir
--Ruth Sapir
with Elena:

--Zita Sapir
--Eli Sapir

Tamir Sapir (Russian: Тимур Сапир, birth name Temur Sepiashvili, Georgian: თემურ სეფიაშვილი); 1946/1947 – September 26, 2014) was an American businessman and investor from the former Soviet republic of Georgia who made millions bartering fertilizer and oil with the Soviets in the 1980s; he took most of his money and put it into New York real-estate. He was included in The 400 Richest Americans List of September 2008 (#246), with a net worth of $1.9 billion. In March 2010, he ranked 721st on Forbes' list of billionaires, with a net worth of $1.4 billion.

Early life[edit]

Temur Sepiashvili was born in 1946 or 1947. In the early 1970s he studied journalism at Tbilisi State University but left to earn money to support his family because of his father's death. His business was to fill out emigration forms and other documents for Soviet Jews.[citation needed]

He, his wife and his mother had emigrated to Israel in 1973, around the time of the Yom Kippur War. Sapir (he changed his last name in Israel) moved to the United States. He spoke no English and became a taxicab driver in New York City. Saving up to buy an electronics store, he catered primarily to Russian clientele. Eventually he made contacts with the Soviet contingent to the United Nations in New York, and traded electronics for oil contracts, which he then sold to American companies. Investing the profits in Manhattan real estate in the 1990s, he became a billionaire by 2002.[3] Sapir has been referred to as America's "billionaire cabbie".

Sapir brought a lawsuit in Russia against a Moscow oil refinery after it violated the terms of a contract by failing to transfer oil products for delivered equipment. Sapir won the case in 2005, but received none of the $28 million the Moscow company was ordered to pay.[4]

Personal life[edit]

Sapir has been married twice. His first marriage to Bella Sapir ended in divorce.[5] They had five children: Alex, Zina, Ruth, Zita, Eli.[6] His second wife was Elena Ponomareva.[6] He was a member of the Park East Synagogue in Manhattan.[6] Tamir Sapir died on September 26, 2014, aged 67.[7]


  1. ^ a b "The World's Billionaires: #721 Tamir Sapir". Forbes. March 3, 2010. 
  2. ^ Tamir Sapir's 56,000 square foot Long Island Compound Retrieved 2014-11-21.
  3. ^ #410 Tamir Sapir. The World's Richest People, Forbes magazine.
  4. ^ Russia´s Highest Commercial Court Rejects Appeal by Moscow Oil Refinery in Favor of Tamir Sapir´s Joy-Lud, findlaw.com; accessed October 3, 2014.
  5. ^ New York Observer: "Recent Divorcees with Hefty Settlements To Save New York Real Estate" by Irina Aleksander November 7, 2008
  6. ^ a b c Park East Synagogue: Memorial Service Tamir Sapir October 26, 2014
  7. ^ Notice of death of Tamir Sapir, therealdeal.com; accessed 3 October 2014.

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