Prokhorov probe could threaten Nets deal

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Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, who is on the verge of a $200 million deal to buy the New Jersey Nets from Atlantic Yards developer Bruce Ratner, is coming under scrutiny for his close business ties to Zimbabwe, according to the Post. New Jersey Rep. Bill Pascrell has called for a government inquiry into whether the Prokhorov-owned companies in Zimbabwe violate federal laws that prohibit American citizens and companies from doing business with dictator Robert Mugabe. Prokhorov’s Renaisance Capital has interests in the Zimbabwean stock exchange, among other investments in the country. Renaissance is also closely tied to Prokhorov’s Onexim investment fund — the one behind the imminent Nets takeover that will bring the basketball team to Ratner’s new Barclays Center in Atlantic Yards. “[The Nets deal is] being financed partly by the taxpayer, and the public has a right to know,” said Pascrell, who wants the Treasury Department to investigate Onexim. The NBA, whose vetting process for Prokhorov is already complete, last week announced that it would delay a scheduled Friday vote on the deal because of the stall tactics of residents living in the footprint of the new Nets arena, which is to be taken over by the state through eminent domain. [Post]

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