Russian oligarch and former NBA team owner makes Aliyah

Former Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov, who is Jewish, becomes Israeli citizen; his relations with Russian President Putin soured after he launched an unsuccessful presidential bid in 2012

Itamar Eichner|
Jewish Russian billionaire and former owner of NBA team the Brooklyn Nets, Mikhail Prokhorov, has made Aliyah and became an Israeli citizen, Ynet has learned on Monday.
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  • The 56-year-old businessman arrived in Israel several days ago on a private jet from Switzerland and has since filed all the required paperwork to become a citizen of the Jewish state.
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     מיכאיל פרוחורוב
     מיכאיל פרוחורוב
    Mikhail Prokhorov
    (Photo: AP)
    Under the country's Law of Return, Jews, their immediate family and grandchildren have the right to relocate to Israel and acquire Israeli citizenship.
    Prokhorov's net worth is estimated at around $13.8 billion and unlike many other Russian oligarchs harboring close ties to President Vladimir Putin, he has not been hit with punitive sanctions by the West in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
    Prokhorov has played a key role in the proliferation of electric vehicles in Russia and is a co-founder of Russian hybrid electric car venture Yo-Mobile.
    He was also the owner of the New York City-based basketball team for a decade between 2009 and 2019.
    A recent New York Post report claimed that the billionaire gave up ownership of the NBA franchise partly because of pressure from Putin, serving as kind of a litmus test for loyalty in the face of Western sanctions following Moscow's annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in 2014.
    2 View gallery
    Former Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov
    Former Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov
    Former Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov
    (Photo: Reuters)
    Prokhorov has also had a short stint in politics, having run for the presidency in the March 2012 election against Putin but garnered only 8% of the vote.
    Prokhorov's relations with Putin soured after the launch of his presidential bid despite qualifying he did not oppose the Russian leader but only offered himself as an alternative.
    The rivalry between the two escalated in 2016 when Onexim — a media group owned by Prokhorov — published details pertaining to shady financial dealings involving Putin's son-in-law. In response, the tax authorities and the federal police raided the company's offices.
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