New book charting life of Worthing’s Datsun UK founder Octav Botnor sheds light on ‘unjustified’ tax scandal

Octav Botnar founded Datsun UK in Worthing, later known as Nissan UK. Image from cover of Octav Botnar: A Life, out today
Octav Botnar founded Datsun UK in Worthing, later known as Nissan UK. Image from cover of Octav Botnar: A Life, out today

The life of a businessman who founded Datsun UK in Worthing has been documented in a new biography out today (Tuesday, October 16).

Octav Botnar was born on the eve of the First World War and led an eventful early life as a young communist, which saw him travel across Europe before later settling in the UK.

He founded Datsun UK, which would later become Nissan UK, in Worthing in 1970.

The book – Octav Botnar: A Life – charts his chequered journey, from his early days in Czernowitz, part of the Austro-Hungarian empire, to his later years battling the UK tax authorities.

Penned by academic and author John Laughland, the book describes the tax case which left him exiled in Switzerland as ‘unjustified’.

It shares Botnar’s side of the case, which saw two people jailed but Botnar himself never face trial.

Away from the controversy, Botnar’s personal life was marred by tragedy when his only daughter, Camelia, died in a car accident in 1979.

The Camelia Botnar Foundation, based in Cowfold, is still running today.

The charity, which helps young people in need, is run by Paul Yallop, ex-leader of Worthing Borough Council and former employee of Botnar’s Worthing business.

For more details about the book – and to order a copy – click here.