Nets Owner to Move Headquarters to Russia as Brooklyn Enters Global Political Crises
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By Stephen Witt
Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov is working on a plan for world peace along with bringing a NBA title to the borough.
That after his Moscow-based office responded to Our Time Press questions to Prokhorov on the current political crisis in the Ukraine culminating with the Russian takeover of Crimea with his recent post on the Russian language Facebook page.
“I hope my supporters will forgive me for quoting Lenin, but politics is a concentrated expression of economics. The economy of Ukraine is on the edge of catastrophe. And we must note that neither Russia nor the EU (European Union), nor the U.S. has the resources to resolve this problem, which already has an estimated cost of $130 billion,” Prokhorov wrote. “I am now trying to calculate a model to bring the situation back from the brink. After all, the economic crisis in Ukraine will backfire against everyone – Russia, the EU and, no matter how much they believe otherwise, the U.S. will be hit by this crisis as well.”
Prokhorov’s comments came prior to his reiterating plans on Tuesday to relocate his ownership stake to his native Russia as part of the global political chess match between Russia and the United States.
“This (move) does not violate any NBA rules and I will bring it (under Russian jurisdiction) in accordance with Russian law,” Prokhorov told Reuters in a published report.
Prokhorov bought the majority interest in the Nets along with 45% of the interest of the Barclays Arena with developer Bruce Ratner for a reported $200 million in 2010.
Prokhorov previously announced plans to move the front office of his U.S.-based company, Onexim Sports and Entertainment, back to Russia in 2012 when he ran for the Russian presidency. Russian law bars candidates with foreign assets from running in elections.
“At that time, the league indicated its willingness to work with us in the event we needed to reregister the ownership vehicle of the Nets as a Russian entity to comply with the Russian law regarding candidates for political office,” said Prokhorov in a statement on Tuesday.
But the NBA issued a statement soon after saying that the league had “received no application nor is there a process underway through our office to transfer the ownership of the Nets to another company”.
The move will take a vote of all the NBA owners, and if approved the Nets ownership will become the second foreign-headquartered franchise, joining Toronto.
The front office move comes as the Nets have become one of the hottest teams in the NBA since January and continues to have a growing fan base in the borough as the Knicks, who play out of Manhattan, continue to flounder.
While Prokhorov is not among the Russian billionaires on Obama’s list to be banned, he was recently honored by Putin for his role in the staging of the Sochi Winter Games. Prokhorov served as president of the Russian Biathlon Team.
Currently, Onexim is located in Manhattan and operated under American laws. The actual Net
front office operations are expected to continue operating out of Brooklyn.