* Newspaper reported plans to sell assets
* Prokhorov’s group said report inaccurate
* But aslo said it does look at potential deals (Writes through to add Onexim’s denial, context)
MOSCOW, July 4 (Reuters) - Onexim Group, owned by tycoon Mikhail Prokhorov, said on Monday a newspaper report suggesting it had decided to sell all its assets in Russia was inaccurate.
“Onexim Group is one of the largest investment funds in Russia ... Our assets are constantly in a state of transition and we are always in the process of negotiations for sales and acquisitions and attracting new partners,” Dmitry Razumov, the head of Onexim, said in an emailed statement.
“Many of these negotiations are continuing over the course of years. It would not be right to conclude that we are ‘selling off our Russian assets’. No such decision has been made.”
On Monday, Vedomosti newspaper had reported that Prokhorov was searching for buyers of all his assets in Russia, quoting multiple unnamed sources.
Onexim owns stakes in aluminium giant Rusal, potash producer Uralkali and power generator Quadra . It also has financial assets Renaissance Credit, Renaissance Capital, IFC Bank and insurance firm Soglasie.
Outside Russia, Prokhorov owns the Brooklyn Nets basketball team in the United States. According to Forbes magazine, he has a net worth of $7.6 billion.
In April, Russian law enforcement officials conducted searches of Onexim’s offices, saying that the searches were related to a tax investigation at an unspecified firm or group.
At the time, two sources told Reuters they believed the searches were linked to Prokhorov’s RBC media holding, which had published revelations about people with ties to President Vladimir Putin. The Kremlin has denied this link.
One of the sources quoted by Vedomosti on Monday said that there were rumours the Kremlin had recommended that Onexim sell its media holding RBC.
Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told a conference call for reporters on Monday these rumours were “absolute nonsense.”
Sources familiar with Onexim told Reuters the group has at different times in the past several years had talks to sell stakes in Uralkali, RBC, Renaissance Group and Quadra.
But these discussions about selling were not prompted by the law enforcement searches and the deals were not imminent, the sources said.
Russia has a history of law enforcement raids on tycoons who irritate the Kremlin. (Reporting by Polina Devitt, Maria Tsvetkova, Oksana Kobzeva, Anastasia Lyrchikova, Darya Korsunskaya, Olga Popova and Alexander Winning; additional reporting by Dmitry Solovyov; writing by Alexander Winning and Polina Devitt; Editing by Jane Merriman)
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