Mikhail Prokhorov is a Russian businessman. Generally speaking, people in the United States and other English-speaking countries will be most familiar with him because of his ownership of the Brooklyn Nets. However, it should be mentioned that Forbes believes him to be a billionaire, which is perhaps unsurprising considering his high profile status. Here are 10 things that you may or may not have known about Mikhail Prokhorov:
1. Moscow Native
Prokhorov is a Moscow native. However, his parents’ background is more complicated than that. For example, his mother Tamara was evacuated east during the Second World War while his grandmother Anna remained in Moscow to continue working as a microbiologist. Meanwhile, his father Dmitri’s family were kulaks, so it should come as no surprise to learn that they received poor treatment under Lenin and then Stalin.
2. Graduated from the Moscow Finance Institute
Education-wise, Prokhorov went to the Moscow Finance Institute. In short, said institution is one of the most respected universities that can be found in the whole of Russia. Moreover, it specializes in producing bankers, economists, financiers, and other people connected to finance and its related fields. As a result, it is perhaps unsurprising to learn that the alumni of the Moscow Finance Institute include some very influential individuals, as shown by how their ranks include more billionaires than the ranks of their counterparts at any other Russian school.
3. Spent Some Time Working At Various Banks
Before Prokhorov became a businessman, he spent some time working at various banks. For example, there was the International Bank for Economic Cooperation, which no longer exists in the present time. Likewise, there was the United Export-Import Bank.
4. Benefited from Privatization
The fall of the Soviet Union was a very sudden matter. As a result, the privatization of government-owned companies upon its fall didn’t happen in a slow, methodical manner. Instead, it happened at a much faster pace that resulted in numerous companies going at very low companies, which might not have been great for the state but nonetheless proved very beneficial for the people who were in a position to take advantage of it. In Prokhorov’s case, he and his business partner were able to pick up the shares of Norilsk Nickel from its workers at a fraction of their true value, thus putting him on the path to becoming a billionaire. In fact, by the time that he left said company, his ownership stake was worth billions.
5. Became the Chairman of the Board of Onexim
Prokhorov picked up Norilsk Nickel while he was the Chairman of the Board of Onexim, which was founded by him and his business partner. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Norilsk Nickel was far from being the sole company that the two were able to pick up because of their activities, seeing as how Onexim was responsible for offering loans to the Russian government that were collateralized using ownership stakes in government companies. Since the Russian government of the 1990s was a complete and utter disaster, this meant that Onexim was able to pick up a great deal of wealth in exchange for very low prices. Norilsk Nickel might have been one of the most notable such incidents, but it was very far from being alone.
6. Got Detained for Alleged Pimping Once
In 2007, Prokhorov got detained by French police because he was alleged to have arranged for prostitutes for guests at a French ski resort. He was never actually charged for pimping because the French prosecutor stated that he had paid the travel expenses of the single women who weren’t prostitutes, but there was nonetheless a huge scandal, so much so that said incident seems to have been what prompted him and his business partner to start splitting their assets.
7. Very Interested in Sports
Given the fact that he bought out what was then called the New Jersey Nets, it should come as no surprise to learn that Prokhorov is very interested in sports. In particular, it is worth mentioning that he is a big fan of jet skiing. Moreover, Prokhorov is quite good at it, seeing as how he is able to perform back flips as well as other tricks while he is jet skiing.
8. Has Sold a Part of the Brooklyn Nets to Joseph Tsai
With that said, Prokhorov has sold a 49 percent ownership stake in the Brooklyn Nets to the Taiwanese-Canadian billionaire Joseph Tsai. For those who are curious, Tsai was someone who was very impressed by Jack Ma’s charisma, which is why he quit a very lucrative job in order to join up with what would go on to become the Alibaba Group. Suffice to say that said choice has more than paid off, as shown by the fact that he is now the corporation’s Executive Vice Chairman with a fortune that is estimated to be more than $10 billion as of April of 2019.
9. Has Gotten Involved in Russian Politics
Prokhorov has been involved in Russian politics. In short, he became the leader of Right Cause, which is a liberal-conservative party that came into existence through the merger of three struggling parties. As such, Prokhorov ran for the position of the Russian president in 2012, with the result that he came in third with close to 8 percent of the vote. Since that time, Prokhorov has quit Right Cause, claiming that it is nothing more than a puppet of the Russian government.
10. Has Never Gotten Married
Prokhorov has never gotten married. He did make a claim that he would get married if the Nets hadn’t become the NBA champions within five years of his purchase, but he backed out of said pledge in 2015. Instead, he continues to share a residence with his elder sister, which has been true ever since their parents died. It is interesting to note that said sister is a publisher who runs Prokhorov’s more philanthropic efforts.