Mikhail Prokhorov says he will transfer NBA Nets ownership to native Russia.
NBA Brooklyn Nets Owner Mikhail Prokhorov said on Monday that he planned to "relocate his company" that runs the Nets to Russia "in keeping with the Kremlin's call on Russian businessmen to repatriate their assets to help combat new U.S. sanctions," according to Alexei Anishchuk of REUTERS. The U.S. and European Union have "imposed visa bans and asset freezes on officials and businessmen believed to be close to Russian President Vladimir Putin in protest at Moscow's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region." Prokhorov, a Russian billionaire, said, "A Russian company will own the basketball club. This (move) does not violate any NBA rules and I will bring it (under Russian jurisdiction) in accordance with Russian law." Though Prokhorov "ran against Putin in the 2012 presidential election, he has underlined his loyalty to the president." The NBA said that "it had not been notified of any changes to the Nets' ownership." NBA spokesperson Mike Bass said in a statement, "The Nets are owned by Mikhail Prokhorov through a U.S.-based company. We have received no official application nor is there a process underway through our office to transfer the ownership of the Nets to another company" (REUTERS, 3/24
). Prokhorov "did not specify how the Nets would be structured under his new ownership plan" (R-SPORT, 3/24
). Anton Rakhmanov, who helps manage $5B in assets as the head of Sberbank Asset Management in Moscow, said, “It’s a preventive measure. It’s his personal decision, it seems, to bring the assets home, where he knows how things work. The market has been very pessimistic and has priced in not only sanctions that were already imposed, but way more than that” (BLOOMBERG, 3/24