Mikhail Prokhorov, the billionaire Russian who owns the New Jersey Nets, has just been elected head of Russia’s pro-business political party and is already speaking out on behalf of fellow oligarchs who are in jail.
Prokhorov, who was elected head of Russia’s Right Cause party Saturday, vowed to overtake the Communist party as the no. 2 party in Russia and to support the reelection of President Dmitry Medvedev for a second term in 2012, Reuters reported.
And he wasted no time taking a political stance on ex-tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky and his business partner Platon Lebedev, who have been in Russian jails since 2003 for reportedly stealing crude oil from Yukos Oil, then Russia’s largest oil exporter.
“I personally believe that there is no reason for Khodorkovsky and Lebedev to stay in prison,” Prokhorov said, according to RIA Novosti. “They should exercise this right [on parole].”
Prokhorov’s election marks the first time a powerful Russian businesman has appeared on Russia’s political scene in almost a decade, according to Reuters, which also reported that he was critical of Russia’s one-party rule and vowed to “take back parliament” in an acceptance speech in Moscow.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.