Athletic 6-7 Russian Billionaire Team Owner Arrested as Part of Call Girl Investigation

The team Mikhail Prokhorov owns, CSKA Moscow, is one of the best in the world.

Plenty of players, including Viktor Khyrapa, Sergei Monia, Trajan Langdon, and others, have played for CSKA before or after the NBA. (And remember the Greek Guard Theodoros Papaloukas who so kindly helped the U.S. to third place in the World Championships? He's on CSKA, too as is former Wizard David Vanterpool.) Indeed CSKA played against NBA teams this pre-season.

The Associated Press reports:

A keen basketball player, Prokhorov has used his wealth to acquire Euroleague basketball champions CSKA. Skiing, jet skiing and kickboxing are among his favorite sports. He divides his time between Norilsk, Moscow, Saint Tropez on the French Riviera, and Courchevel, where he owns a chalet.

The arrests occurred in several hotels at fashionable Courchevel, which has its own airstrip that can accommodate private jets. Russian tycoons flock to the resort over the New Year and Orthodox Christmas holidays.

Investigators also seized $65,000 at two four-star hotels in Courchevel, an official working on the probe said. The official was not authorized to speak to the media and requested anonymity. No drugs or weapons were found.

Those questioned include seven Russian women about 20 years old, as well as people suspected of helping bring the women to France, the official said. It was unclear whether the women were among those still in custody.

Police suspect the women involved worked only occasionally as prostitutes and that their pay likely came mainly in the form of expensive presents from luxury boutiques in the ski station, the investigating official said.

That practice is also used by some prostitutes in the chic beach resorts of the French Riviera. The official said the giving of gifts could complicate efforts to prove the women were prostitutes and not simply friends.

Police began the investigation last year after noticing suspicious trips by young Russian women heading through Geneva to the French Alps, with tickets booked through Austrian travel agencies, the official said. Investigators were on the lookout for two waves of prostitutes arriving in Courchevel during the 2006-07 holiday season.