Unsanctioned Russian oligarch Prokhorov flees to Israel, gets citizenship - report

Prokhorov's name is not mentioned on the lists of sanctioned oligarchs compiled by the United States or any other Western nation.

 Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov smiles during an interview before the Nets take on the Minnesota Timberwolves in their NBA basketball game in New York November 5, 2012 (photo credit: ADAM HUNGER/REUTERS)
Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov smiles during an interview before the Nets take on the Minnesota Timberwolves in their NBA basketball game in New York November 5, 2012
(photo credit: ADAM HUNGER/REUTERS)

Unsanctioned Russian oligarch Mikhail Prokhorov obtained Israeli citizenship after arriving on a private jet from Switzerland last week, Ynet reported on Monday.

Prokhorov, valued as the 193rd richest person in the world by Forbes Magazine at $11.5 billion, was considered eligible to receive citizenship under the Law of Return.

Originally entering Israel with a visitor's visa, Prokhorov received citizenship after passing eligibility tests conducted by Nativ, an independent administrative unit at the Prime Minister's Office responsible for checking aliyah eligibility for Jews born in former Soviet countries.

Following a criminal record check by the Population and Immigration Authority which turned out clean, Prokhorov was given a blue passport.

As of April 4, Prokhorov's name is not mentioned on the lists of sanctioned oligarchs compiled by the United States or any other Western nation.

 Russian President Vladimir Putin stands with businessman-turned-politician Mikhail Prokhorov during a state awards ceremony in Moscow's Kremlin on March 24, 2014 (credit: REUTERS/ALEXEI NIKOLSKIY/RIA NOVOSTI/KREMLIN) Russian President Vladimir Putin stands with businessman-turned-politician Mikhail Prokhorov during a state awards ceremony in Moscow's Kremlin on March 24, 2014 (credit: REUTERS/ALEXEI NIKOLSKIY/RIA NOVOSTI/KREMLIN)

A former owner of the NBA's Brooklyn Nets, Prokhorov made his wealth through his mining and smelting company Norilsk Nickel, whose shares were once owned by Russian-Israeli oligarch Roman Abramovich.

Prokhorov previously tried his hand at Russian politics, challenging president Vladimir Putin in the 2012 presidential elections as an independent.

During his campaign, which he referred to as "the most important decision of his life," according to Bloomberg, Prokhorov refused to bash Putin, instead focusing on "what he will do as president."

According to the BBC, Prokhorov's ties to the Kremlin caused some Russian opposition figures to suggest the oligarch's campaign was a ploy designed by Putin to draw attention away from protests at the time and provide liberal Russian voters with a candidate.