Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov is embroiled in the diplomatic standoff between Russia and the U.S. over Ukraine’s Crimea region. Of course he is. The big Russian billionaire is following orders from president Vladimir Putin, who continues to stand in defiance of economic sanctions from America and the European Union. Per Reuters and Newsday:
The United States 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. Mikhail Prokhorov, owner of the Brooklyn Nets, had said previously that he planned to relocate the company that runs the NBA team to Russia, but his comments to reporters in the Kremlin underlined his support for Putin.
“A Russian company will own the basketball club,” Prokhorov said before receiving a medal for services to Russia along with other national sports officials.
“This (move) does not violate any NBA (U.S. National Basketball Association) rules and I will bring it (under Russian jurisdiction) in accordance with Russian law.”
“The Nets are owned by Mikhail Prokhorov through a U.S.-based company,” Mike Bass, an NBA spokesman, said in a statement. “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.”
Prokhorov has not been hit by Western sanctions and, although he ran against Putin in the 2012 presidential election, he has underlined his loyalty to the president.
Prokhorov isn’t quite sure if any imposed sanctions would affect his assets.
“This question is not clear so far,” he said. “We are all now looking at it together. At the moment, so far, no.”