Why Aren't Russian Billionaire Owners Of Brittney Griner's Basketball Team Helping Get Her Out Of Prison?

Zinger Key Points
  • Russian oligarchs who made money in gas, oil, precious metals used proceeds to buy sports teams.
  • As much as $1 trillion in Russian wealth is stowed in offshore companies in places like Switzerland, Cyprus and even the U.S.
Why Aren't Russian Billionaire Owners Of Brittney Griner's Basketball Team Helping Get Her Out Of Prison?

Brittney Griner’s recently upheld nine-year sentence to be served in a Russian penal colony, let’s admit, evokes some horrifying images and brings to mind Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s “One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich.” Set in a Soviet labor camp, the short novel describes the prisoner’s struggle for human dignity.

Judging from the images of the six-foot-nine WNBA superstar's appearances in a Moscow court over these past months, Griner appears to have her human dignity intact. 

What About The Billionaire Owners Of Griner’s Russian Basketball Team?

Dignity does not come to mind when pondering the inaction of the Russian oligarchs who have said nothing to their friend Vladimir Putin, that we know of, nor pressured him to give the 32-year-old basketball player a break and allow her to walk free.

Wonder Why? This Could Shed Some Light

The team Griner has played on for the past seven years during the off-season, the UMMC Yekaterinburg is controlled by Russian billionaires Iskander Makhmudov and his business partnerAndrei Kozitsyn. The two men also run the Ural Mining and Metallurgical Company, one of Russia’s top producers of copper, zinc, coal, gold and silver.

Proceeds from mining helped Makhmudov and Kozitsyn invest in women’s basketball and other sports in Russia, like martial arts, hockey, motorcycle racing, table tennis, etc. 

The Invasion That Changed Everything 

The day Russia invaded Ukraine, Putin called together at least 13 of the country’s wealthiest businessmen - the oligarchs who surfaced after the collapse of the Soviet Union and began scooping up investment interests in major industries like gas, oil and precious metals.

The purpose of the meeting other than to tell them that the invasion was a “necessary measure,” was to also let his friends know (as if they didn’t already) that they would likely face economic sanctions from the U.S. and European Union. 

Too Late For Some To Stash Their Assets

Roman Abramovich, former owner of the Chelsea Football Club had his $4.5 billion London assets (about a third of his total) either sold or frozen after the Feb. 24 invasion.

Russian oligarchs have been hiding their assets for years. As much as $1 trillion in Russian wealth is stowed in offshore companies in places like Switzerland, Cyprus and even the United States. 

Makhmudov and his Griner team-owning partner Kozitsyn were at the Putin meeting that day and except for the sanctions, they have reportedly not suffered too terribly. 

Makhmudov (net worth $9.41 billion), who has been accused of racketeering,  fraud, bribery and attempted murder, also co-owned two British Virgin Islands companies with fellow billionaire Andrey Bokarev (net worth $2.2 billion). 

Kozitsyn, (net worth $3.8 billion) whose rap sheet is either shorter or less well known, was added to the EU’s sanctions list for financially supporting the Russian invasion of Ukraine.  

While these facts don't answer the question of why Makhmudov and Kozitsyn are not pushing for Griner's release, stories about Putin's vitriol when someone dares to question or criticize his actions have circulated for years.

Dignity? That went out with Ivan Denisovich.

Photos: Wikimedia Commons

Posted In: Brittney GrinerICYMIRussian oligarchsVladimir PutinWNBACannabisNewsPoliticsSportsMarketsGeneral


Meet the biggest cannabis industry players and make deals that will push the industry forward.

Featuring live company presentations, insider panels, and unmatched access to networking, the Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference is where cannabis executives and entrepreneurs meet.

Join us April 11-12, 2023 at Fontainebleau Miami Beach in sunny Florida.

11 Best Black Friday Deals on Amazon

11 Best Black Friday Deals on Amazon

The best Black Friday deals from Amazon are still coming hard and fast because the holiday is not yet upon us and the mega-retailer prefers to keep consumers on the hook for as long as possible—spending as much money as possible. 

To that end, here are some of the best Black Friday deals from Amazon that you might want to consider today.

Calphalon 10-Piece Pots and Pans Set

Regular Price: $172

Sale Price: $138.88

Calphalon’s 10-Piece Pots and Pans Set is designed with stainless steel, stay-cool handles along with pour spouts. The nonstick surface is PFOA-free and built with hard-anodized aluminum that is both durable and conducts heat extremely well. The set includes 2 fry pans, a sauce pan with cover, saute pan with cover and large stock pot with cover.

Apple AirPods 2nd Generation

Regular Price: $144

Sale Price: $85.49

The 2nd Generation AirPods from Apple connect to all Apple devices and give you an enhanced listening experience. Plus, they come with a case that keeps them safe and allows you to charge them in a secure environment. With over 24 hours of battery life, access to Siri and easy setup, you can start listening to your favorite tunes or podcasts today.

Adidas Ultraboost 21 Running Shoes

Regular Price: $129.98

Sale Price: $89.98

The Adidas Women’s Ultraboost 21 running shoe is perfect for anyone who likes a short run, maybe a 5K, half marathon or more. Coming in several colors and styles, you can slip these shoes on, enjoy the cushioned outsole, sink into the supple insole and secure laces.

Ninja AF101 Air Fryer

Regular Price: $129.99

Sale Price: $97.83

The Ninja AF101 Air Fryer allows you to crisp, roast, reheat and even dehydrate food products faster and cheaper than ever before. It has a 4-quart capacity and offers a wide temperature range along with several time settings so that you can customize each dish to your needs. Plus, all the parts are dishwasher safe.

Beats Solo3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones

Regular Price: $199.95

Sale Price: $99

Beats by Dr. Dre are among the best headphones on the market, and the Solo3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones include the Apple W1 chip, Class 1 Bluetooth and 40 hours of battery time. These headphones even have a built-in microphone and offer an adjustable fit so that you can be comfortable whether you’re listening to an Android or iOS device.

Hoover Power Scrub Deluxe Carpet Cleaner

Regular Price: $198.98

Sale Price: $175.98

The Hoover Power Scrub Deluxe Carpet Cleaner allows you to keep your home spotless and clean up after your pets. The cleaner comes with the Hoover Paws and Claws Deep shampoo and a storage mat to keep the floor dry once it’s put away.

LG CordZero Auto Empty Cordless Stick Vacuum

Regular Price: $999.00

Sale Price: $851.71

The LG CordZero Auto Empty Cordless Stick Vacuum and Wet Mop All in One Tower is designed to work in homes with several pets or children and clean up all the messes that life brings. The battery lasts up to 2 hours, and there’s an extra removable battery that gives you even more cleaning time and power.

Breville Fresh and Furious Blender

Regular Price: $278.60

Sale Price: $199.95

Breville, a top name in blenders and juicers, offers the Fresh and Furious Blender, featuring 50-ounce capacity, Vac Q technology, pre-programmed cycles, LCD display and lid with pull ring. With the Fresh and Furious Blender, you can make everything from a smoothie to a soup and everything in between.

Hot Tools Professional 2000 Turbo Ionic Hair Dryer

Regular Price: $89.99

Sale Price: $55.63

The Hot Tools Professional 2000 Turbo Ionic Hair Dryer is designed for professional use, but it works perfectly in the home. With 1875 watts of power, 6 heat and speed settings and a lightweight design, you can easily style your hair and utilize the diffuser, cut back on the frizz and stretch the 8 ft cord for maximum functionality.

Columbia Heavenly Long Hooded Jacket

Regular Price: $160

Sale Price: $97.38

The Heavenly Long Hooded Jacket from Columbia is designed to be light for everyday use, but it’s heavy enough to protect you from the cold. The plush fleece lining, security pocket, water resistant fabric, 2-way zipper, and zippered hand pockets make the jacket both protective and functional.

ConAir InfinitiPro Hair Dryer

Regular Price: $49.99

Sale Price: $29.99

ConAir is one of the biggest names in hair and beauty, and the InfinitPro is an 1875 watt hair dryer designed for professionals with ceramic technology. The dryer comes with a diffuser and concentrator, and it allows you to blow out your hair just the way they would at the salon.

Deals the Experts Are Hoping For

Experts believe that Amazon’s Black Friday sale could linger for quite some time. It all started with the Prime Early Access sale on October 11 and 12. Previously, Amazon has offered the “Epic Deals” sale that ran through late October. 

This is to say that any sale could come up at any time. 

Even so, those monitoring Amazon are looking forward to a few potential deals, including:

  • Apple Watch
  • AirPods (any generation)
  • MacBook Pro
  • Large, underpriced TVs
  • Amazon Echo
  • More small home appliances (Dyson or Shark vacuums, Instant Pots, etc.) 

While these predictions are based on last year’s Amazon Black Friday Sale, it’s important to remember that most Black Friday sales are fairly consistent and push the products that are most likely to sell.


Featured image sourced from Shutterstock

Posted In: Partner ContentGeneral