Nets mull company move to Russia

Updated: March 25, 2014, 12:19 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

MOSCOW -- The Russian owner of the Brooklyn Nets says he is moving ahead with plans to transfer the NBA team's ownership company to Russia.

Mikhail Prokhorov first announced last year that he wanted to shift control of the team to a Russian-based company after the Kremlin passed a law regulating foreign holdings for public officials.

"Preliminary discussions with the NBA were held in spring, 2013 and, 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," the Nets said in a statement. "This is a long process which may or may not come to fruition and nothing is imminent. Of course, no steps in this direction could or would be taken without the full knowledge and approval of the NBA."

However, the move would also be in line with Russian President Vladimir Putin's recent call for billionaires to register their businesses at home in the wake of U.S. sanctions following Russia's annexation of Crimea.

Prokhorov said in remarks carried by Russian news wires Monday that the process of shifting ownership "is slowly going on." Asked if he thinks potential U.S. sanctions could hurt him, Prokhorov said "it's still unclear," but "we are currently looking at it."

NBA spokesman Mike Bass said the league has not received an application to transfer ownership of the Nets.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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