Moscow, Dec 12: Russian metals tycoon and US basketball team owner Mikhail Prokhorov said Monday he intended to challenge Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in next year's presidential elections.
"I have made the most serious decision of my life. I am running for president," Prokhorov told reporters.
The owner of NBA's New Jersey Nets basketball team had previously made a short-lived effort to challenge Putin's United Russia party in this month's parliamentary elections.
He later resigned from his own party following an internal power struggle that he blamed on the Kremlin. The Right Cause party finished with less than one percent of the vote.
The Polys Gold metals miner chairman -- consistently ranked as one of Russia's top five billionaires by Forbes magazine -- was in 2010 estimated to have a fortune of $18 billion.