Russian billionaire and New Jersey Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov denied having any involvement in an unsolicited bid to purchase shares from Supatcha Resources, a little-known gold exploration company, the New York Post reported Wednesday.
Last Friday, Supatcha pumped its penny stock with a press release claiming that a company called OXM Group, which Supatcha said is controlled by Prokhorov, was moving forward with an "unsolicited bid" to buy Supatcha's outstanding stock for $1.75 a share.
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Supatcha shares, which were trading at 35 cents, hit nearly $1 before closing at 70 cents.
But Prokhorov, who made his fortune in Siberian mining, denied any involvement with Supatcha, while sources said that the Securities and Exchange Commission was bombarded by cries of foul play.
"Onexim Group president Mikhail Prokhorov categorically denies any involvement with Supatcha Resources Inc. A press release by that company indicating that Mr. Prokhorov is involved in an unsolicited bid to purchase shares is completely false," a spokeswoman for Prokhorov said in an emailed statement.
Officials for Supatcha Resources did not return several requests for comment.
Prokhorov -- rated by Forbes as the 34th richest man in the world -- made his name in the US last year with his move to buy an 80 percent stake in the Nets and a 45 percent stake in the new Barclays Center basketball arena opening in Brooklyn.