Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov denies reports that he’s leaving Russian politics

Russian newspapers reported on Monday that Mikhail Prokhorov was leaving politics, a claim that he has denied. AP Photo.

Russian newspapers reported on Monday that Mikhail Prokhorov was leaving politics, a claim that he has denied. AP Photo.

A Russian newspaper reported earlier this week that Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov has left the political sphere to devote his time to running the Nets, but Prokhorov denied these claims and dismissed them as a hoax.

“Various media hoaxes do not surprise me anymore,” Prokhorov told RIA Novosti. “They [the media] have been saying goodbye to me ever since I entered politics. I’m not going anywhere. I will remain in politics, and we’re continuing our work.”

These reports came following Prokhorov’s absence from the Sept. 8 mayoral election and his party being removed from an election in the Yaroslavl region of Russia. It was also reported that he might abandon his leadership role of the Civil Platform.

Part of the reason why Prokhorov didn’t run for mayor on Sept. 8 was a new Russian law forbids anyone with foreign assets, in this case the Brooklyn Nets themselves, from running for office. Prokhorov could have transferred ownership of the team for a Russian subsidiary, but didn’t have enough time when the election was suddenly moved up.

However, some, including his campaign manager Anton Krasovsky from his 2012 presidential run, aren’t buying that excuse.

“Prokhorov has already left politics,” Krasovsky told Oleg Sukhov of the Moscow Times. “Choosing between his [Brooklyn Nets] basketball club in the U.S. and politics in Russia, he has opted for the former.”

Prokhorov insists that he is transferring his foreign assets to Russia to run in the 2014 Moscow City Duma elections. Prokhorov first got into Russian politics in 2011 when he ran for parliament. In 2012 he ran for president against Vladimir Putin, but came in third with about eight percent of the vote.