MOSCOW, Aug. 28 (Xinhua) -- Russia's airline company Aeroflot said Thursday it will not continue sponsoring the U.S. National Basketball Association (NBA) club, Brooklyn Nets, which is own by Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov.
"The contract with Brooklyn (Nets) has expired ... We are not planning to sign a new agreement," Itar-Tass news agency quoted an Aeroflot spokesperson as saying, who did not elaborate the reason for the decision.
The company said last year the sponsorship will strengthen the image of the airline, facilitate its penetration of the U.S. market as well as increase the number of potential customers among the basketball fans.
Russia has enacted laws that ban government officials and lawmakers to have overseas bank accounts, in a move to combat corruption and capital outflow. Prokhorov, who is also the leader of Russia's Civil Platform Party and has run for the 2012 presidential elections as an independent candidate, said earlier he would like to transfer assets of Brooklyn Nets under the Russian jurisdiction.
The 49-year-old billionaire said the transition of the basketball club would offer "an outstanding opportunity to use NBA technologies for the systematic development of basketball in Russia."
He bought the then New Jersey Nets in 2010 for 200 million U.S. dollars and later relocated the club to Brooklyn.
The club finished sixth in the 2013/2014 season in its Eastern Conference standings with 44 wins and 38 defeats. Local media said earlier Prokhorov pledged that the team would win the NBA championship by 2015 or he would punish himself by getting married.