Russian billionaire and Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov wants to move the US-based ONEXIM Sports & Entertainment, the company that technically owns the Nets franchise, to Russia, according to a report from Yahoo! Sports. The potential move is due to the Kremlin’s desire to keep Russian businessmen’s assets in Russia.
From the report:
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 NBA said on Monday that it had not been notified of any changes to the Nets’ ownership.
“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.”
He did not say whether the NBA would oppose such a move.