MOSCOW Oct 28 Russian billionaire Mikhail
Prokhorov's assets will continue to be well managed by his
partners after his announcement that he is stepping back from
his businesses in order to dedicate himself to politics, his
spokeswoman said on Sunday.
Prokhorov, who challenged Vladimir Putin in last year's
presidential elections, said on Saturday that he will hand over
the management of his business assets to partners and focus on
With a fortune estimated by Forbes magazine at $13 billion,
Prokhorov's interests include a stake in aluminium giant Rusal
, the U.S. Brooklyn Nets basketball team and the
Yo-Mobile hybrid car project. His Onexim group owns 38 percent
of the country's largest gold miner, Polyus Gold.
In practice, the announcement has no impact on the ownership
or management structure of the assets, Prokhorov's spokeswoman
said on Sunday.
She added that last year, he made a similar decision when he
was involved in running a political party and during his
presidential bid. Last year, Prokhorov stepped down as CEO of
Polyus and left the post of Onexim's president.
Prokhorov ran on a liberal ticket and placed third in the
presidential election won by Vladimir Putin in March. He
collected almost 8 percent of the vote.
Prokhorov told journalists at a convention on Saturday that
he signed a trust agreement under which his Onexim business
partners would manage all his businesses, according to Russian
media reports. Onexim's CEO is Dmitry Razumov, who is also on
the Rusal board.
"From this day I will only engage in political activity and
nothing else," Prokhorov told his supporters. He became chairman
of the party Civic Platform on Saturday, according to its
The statement is a sign of his commitment to his role as a
public and political figure, his spokeswoman said.
Prokhorov does not hold any management positions at the
companies in which he is a shareholder.
"The ownership (of his assets) doesn't change at all," the
spokeswoman said, who declined to comment on the percentage of
Onexim he directly owns. As before, he will not be involved with
day-to-day decision making, which is handled by his management
team, she said.
In terms of the Brooklyn Nets, Prokhorov has never been a
day-to-day manager of the team but remains a committed owner and
fan, she added.
Bruce Bower, a portfolio manager at Moscow-based fund
manager Verno Capital, said that Prokhorov has been for the past
several years "mostly a financial investor and not an operator,"
so his status would not change much in that respect.
"His political ambitions have not been a secret - he has
made them clear over the past few years," said Bower.
"Obviously, this announcement was something he had been thinking
for a while and it's just another step forward in his political
Onexim could potentially sell its stake in Polyus at some
point. In September, Polyus Gold said that Onexim was in talks
with two potential buyers to sell its near-$4 billion stake in