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You're reading: #50 Richest: Tariel Vasadze, 63

$230 million
Married with one son and one daughter
Interests: auto sales

For Tariel Vasadze, who controls UkrAVTO Corporation, one of Ukraine’s major car manufacturers and importers, 2010 ends on a slightly dramatic note.

In early December, the businessman was expelled from Yulia Tymoshenko’s opposition parliament faction for supporting the tax code.

But who can blame Vasadze for not following party guidelines to oppose the measure, which most big businesses supported.

Given the state of Ukraine’s auto industry, Vasadze is among those who probably needs an easing up of the tax regime the most.

Car sales in Ukraine during 2009 fell by a whopping 72 percent.

According to the most optimistic expert estimates, in 2010 the market will remain weak, mainly due to the continuing lack of credit offered by banks.

Despite the downturn, UkrAVTO still managed to earn a profit of Hr 5.2 million, which is largely credited to major cost-cutting and optimization.

Meanwhile, Vasadze has every reason to feel elevated by his business in Russia, where he controls several car dealers, including one of the top Mercedes-Benz dealers in Moscow and MB-Belyaevo, which managed to keep sales stable, despite a drop in sales during 2009.

Given that most analysts predict that in 2011 car sales will begin to recover, Vasadze’s long-term business prospects look good.

But to avoid further political disappointment, it’s perhaps better if he stays unaffiliated in parliament, as long as he can afford to do so.

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