All of this was part of his profile of Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, who will be very well-known here in the U.S. soon as he prepares to become majority owner of the NBA team New Jersey Nets.
“20 years ago a Russian would never even be allowed to buy an American sports franchise,” said Kroft in the piece. But the 44-year-old, 6’8” Prokhorov will soon take over the New Jersey Nets (along with Jay-Z who will own a minority stake). Less than two years from now, the Nets are expected to move from East Rutherford to Brooklyn, raising the team’s profile (and Prokhorov’s) even more.
For many Americans, the 60 Minutes piece last night was a first look at Prokhorov, and here’s a little of what they saw. He originally amassed a small fortune in teaming up with a government worker to start several banks – a dangerous job 15 years ago. “It was the Wild West,” said Prokhorov. “It was a territory with no sheriff.”
But he survived, and later took over Norilsk Nickel, a huge mining and metal operation. That continued until early 2007, when he sold his stake in the company for $10 billion. But what’s more interesting are the circumstances before that. While skiing in France, he flew in “party girls,” but was arrested on suspicion of “promoting prostitution.” French President described him as “a man who obviously wants to please his friends.”
And Prokhorov responded (as read by Kroft): “The French elite is envious because they’re lagging behind in fashion in life and in sex drive.”
Either way, NBA commissioner David Stern says Prokhorov’s background checks out, and pretty soon he’ll be making waves in the U.S. and the NBA community. For now, here’s a look at Prokhorov from CBS News last night – a fascinating profile on a mysterious (and hugely rich) man.
Here’s the video:
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