Updated: Tuesday, 25 March 2014 01:20 | By Agence France-Presse

Prokhorov says transferring Brooklyn Nets ownership to Russia

Russian billionaire businessman Mikhail Prokhorov, owner of the Brooklyn Nets basketball franchise, said Monday he was transferring its ownership to Russia.


Prokhorov says transferring Brooklyn Nets ownership to Russia

Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov speaks at his press conference in Moscow, on June 13, 2013 - by Natalia Kolesnikova

As one of the richest Russians with assets abroad, Prokhorov could be vulnerable if the Western powers escalate economic sanctions against Russia over its takeover of Crimea.

"I am doing all that I can to own the basketball club through a Russian company," Prokhorov told journalists, quoted by the Interfax news agency.

Prokhorov is the principal owner of the Brooklyn Nets through his Onexim Sports & Entertainment holding, according to the team's website. 

The Brooklyn Nets last year jumped in value 47 percent to $780 million, making it the fifth most valuable National Basketball Association club.

Asked if US sanctions imposed on Russia could affect his assets, Prokhorov said: "This question is not clear so far. We are all now looking at it together. At the moment, so far, no."

The billionaire tycoon and former presidential candidate has not been personally targeted by US sanctions over Crimea, which have blacklisted several billionaires closely linked to President Vladimir Putin.

Prokhorov said that the transfer of the team's ownership to Russia was an ongoing process.

"This process is going slowly. I have already said numerous times that I am gradually transferring the basketball club to Russian companies, according to the law."

Putin decorated Prokhorov on Monday over his contribution to the Sochi Winter Olympic games as the head of biathlon in Russia.

Prokhorov was estimated to be worth $10.4 billion by Forbes magazine this year.

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