Mikhail Prokhorov’s plan apparently stems from Russia’s Ukraine invasion

Biz-tsar turn! Nets owner wants to pass team offices to Russia

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Call them the Moscow Nets.

Brooklyn Nets owner and Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov is looking to pass the basketball team’s corporate offices back to his mother country, apparently out of fear that a second Iron Curtain is descending as a result of Russia’s contentious military maneuvering in Ukraine. In his announcement, Prokhorov vowed that the unusual fast-break would be totally aboveboard.

“A Russian company will own the basketball club,” Prokhorov told reporters on Monday, according to the wire news service Reuters. “This (move) does not violate any NBA rules and I will bring it (under Russian jurisdiction) in accordance with Russian law.”

He did not mention it, but the plutocrat’s proclamation came the same day Russia was suspended from the Group of Eight, a Western conference of industrialized countries that includes the United States, and the U.S. slapped Russian president Vladimir Putin’s inner circle of officials and oligarchs with economic sanctions. The boxing-out was a response to Russia’s zone offensive on Crimea, a region of Ukraine that once belonged to Russia. Western leaders said the power play was way out of bounds.

Prokhorov lost the 2012 Russian presidential election to Putin and the hoops mogul’s Moscow mayoral bid was thwarted last summer by a new law forbidding political candidates from owning real estate abroad. In addition to a 45 percent stake in the Barclays Center, Prokhorov reportedly owns an island inAfrica’s Seychelles, and a chalet in the Alps, where French authorities accused him of flying in prostitutes to ring in the Russian Orthodox New Year in 2007. Those charges were later dropped.

The National Basketball Association has not received an application for the buzzer-beating ownership transfer of the Nets, according to a spokesman, who did not say whether such a long-shot move would be allowed.

The league would probably prefer that the companies running Brooklyn’s home-team remain where they are — the Nets’ front office is in Downtown’s MetroTech while Prokhorov’s holding company Onexim Sports and Entertainment is registered in Delaware — but it has also been trying to expand its global imprint, a sports law expert said.

Any agreement would have to also play by Russian rules, the expert added.

“Clearly, there might be differences in terms of tax law and other bodies of law that could pertain to a team operating in Russia, which is different to the United States,” said Marc Edelman, a law professor at the City University of New York’s Zicklin School of Business.

The venue change would require approval of the league’s board of 30 team owners, a league spokesman said.

Reach reporter Megan Riesz at or by calling (718) 260-4505. Follow her on Twitter @meganriesz.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Mike from Maspeth says:
And isn't Ratner trying to sell 70% of the rest of the Atlantic Yards project to the Chinese government? (Greenland Holdings, headquartered in Shanghai, is 100% state owned by the Beijing government.)

This sale hasn't been approved yet by the Feds and the NYS ESDC. I don't think it should be, given what we're seeing with the Nets. They say this project is so important to the future of Brooklyn, then it shouldn't be sold out to foreign owners, let alone to a company that is basically part of a foreign government!

This is crazy! And with about $1billion in public money committed to this for "economic stimulus", now the money is all going overseas??!! Hey, Bruce, nice bait & switch! And VERY patriotic!
March 26, 2014, 10:46 am
Natalie Moose from CG says:
Loving the graphic
March 26, 2014, 3:17 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I guess now I can say I told you so, because I sort of saw this coming. Of course many believed that the end justifies the means, because getting a professional sports franchise to Brooklyn by any means was all that matters regardless of the consequences. There was a reason why Senator Bill Pascarell Jr asked for a background check in Proky and many blind supporters thought he was overreacting at the time. In the end, those of us who saw through this were right all along, while the sheep have been lead to the slaughterhouse. On a side note, I suggest looking at the cartoon on today's Daily News, because it just says it all.
March 26, 2014, 7:37 pm

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