New NBA Owner Has Ties To Mugabe

Last year, Mikhail Prokhorov made history has he became the first foreign owner of an NBA franchise after reaching an agreement to purchase an 80% controlling interest of the basketball operations of the New Jersey Nets.

While the NBA, with the assistance of the mainstream media, has aimed to brandish the 44 year-old Russian billionaire as the latest shining example of the league's globalization efforts, it appears Congress has done some homework on Prokhorov.

The New York Post reports:

A New Jersey congressman says he will demand a government inquiry into Mikhail Prokhorov, the Russian billionaire poised to buy the New Jersey Nets, for his extensive business dealings in Zimbabwe -- a bombshell that could blow up the $200 million team deal and threaten the future of Brooklyn's Atlantic Yards, The Post has learned.

Democratic Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr., a member of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, wants to know if companies controlled by Prokhorov in Zimbabwe violate federal rules that forbid American citizens and companies, and subsidiaries set up in the United States, from doing business with brutal strongman Robert Mugabe, his regime or associates.

"This is disgusting," Pascrell said. "Obviously, the Board of Governors of the NBA didn't do their job properly when they vetted this deal."

He said the project received tax-exempt bonds.

"It's being financed partly by the taxpayer, and the public has a right to know," he said.

Prokhorov's Renaissance Capital investment bank has interests in the Zimbabwean stock exchange, banks, a cellphone company, mining and a swanky, private big-game reserve. The company is intertwined with Onexim, the $25 billion Prokhorov-controlled investment fund behind the deal to bring the struggling NBA team to Brooklyn. (emphasis added)

Prokhorov has been championed by the NBA in part because he's a self-made billionaire, but the league didn't bother to look at how he makes his money. Unsurprisingly, this effort to expose him comes from a New Jersey Congressman. After all, his constituents -- even though few of them are real fans these days -- aren't in a hurry to see their team move to Brooklyn. But regardless of the motivation, this looks terrible for the league.

Zimbabwean Dictator Robert "let me be a Hitler tenfold" Mugabe hasn't made any fans in the free world which is why it is against federal law for Americans to engage in business with him. As a Russian citizen, Prokhorov isn't violating this law. But he can't be too proud of his actions given that he uses a web of subsidiaries of his principal enterprise, Onexim, to do business with Zimbabwe -- and has done so for years.

Since the creation of the Dream Team, NBA Commissioner David Stern has administered the effort to globalize the game of basketball and in the process his multibillion-dollar league. As a result, the league has assimilated a bevy of foreign talent on the court, in the front office, and now in the owner's boxes. But if the commissioner is willing to look the other way while one of his owners enriches himself while in cohorts with an evil individual like Mugabe, all in the name of globalization, he needs to resign immediately.

J.C. Arenas is a frequent contributor to American Thinker and welcomes your comments at jcarenas.com
Last year, Mikhail Prokhorov made history has he became the first foreign owner of an NBA franchise after reaching an agreement to purchase an 80% controlling interest of the basketball operations of the New Jersey Nets.

While the NBA, with the assistance of the mainstream media, has aimed to brandish the 44 year-old Russian billionaire as the latest shining example of the league's globalization efforts, it appears Congress has done some homework on Prokhorov.

The New York Post reports:

A New Jersey congressman says he will demand a government inquiry into Mikhail Prokhorov, the Russian billionaire poised to buy the New Jersey Nets, for his extensive business dealings in Zimbabwe -- a bombshell that could blow up the $200 million team deal and threaten the future of Brooklyn's Atlantic Yards, The Post has learned.

Democratic Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr., a member of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, wants to know if companies controlled by Prokhorov in Zimbabwe violate federal rules that forbid American citizens and companies, and subsidiaries set up in the United States, from doing business with brutal strongman Robert Mugabe, his regime or associates.

"This is disgusting," Pascrell said. "Obviously, the Board of Governors of the NBA didn't do their job properly when they vetted this deal."

He said the project received tax-exempt bonds.

"It's being financed partly by the taxpayer, and the public has a right to know," he said.

Prokhorov's Renaissance Capital investment bank has interests in the Zimbabwean stock exchange, banks, a cellphone company, mining and a swanky, private big-game reserve. The company is intertwined with Onexim, the $25 billion Prokhorov-controlled investment fund behind the deal to bring the struggling NBA team to Brooklyn. (emphasis added)

Prokhorov has been championed by the NBA in part because he's a self-made billionaire, but the league didn't bother to look at how he makes his money. Unsurprisingly, this effort to expose him comes from a New Jersey Congressman. After all, his constituents -- even though few of them are real fans these days -- aren't in a hurry to see their team move to Brooklyn. But regardless of the motivation, this looks terrible for the league.

Zimbabwean Dictator Robert "let me be a Hitler tenfold" Mugabe hasn't made any fans in the free world which is why it is against federal law for Americans to engage in business with him. As a Russian citizen, Prokhorov isn't violating this law. But he can't be too proud of his actions given that he uses a web of subsidiaries of his principal enterprise, Onexim, to do business with Zimbabwe -- and has done so for years.

Since the creation of the Dream Team, NBA Commissioner David Stern has administered the effort to globalize the game of basketball and in the process his multibillion-dollar league. As a result, the league has assimilated a bevy of foreign talent on the court, in the front office, and now in the owner's boxes. But if the commissioner is willing to look the other way while one of his owners enriches himself while in cohorts with an evil individual like Mugabe, all in the name of globalization, he needs to resign immediately.

J.C. Arenas is a frequent contributor to American Thinker and welcomes your comments at jcarenas.com

RECENT VIDEOS