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RUSSIA'S richest man has lost a multi-million dollar deposit he paid to buy a sprawling mansion on the French Riviera.Magnate Mikhail Prokhorov, 44, had offered to buy Villa Leopolda in 2008 for a world record €390 million ($587.4 million) in 2008 but backed out of the sale after the global financial crisis hit.
On Monday, a French court ruled the Mr Prokhorov had lost his 10 per cent down payment - worth €40 million ($60.25 million) - and fined him an additional €1.5 million in interest, The Daily Mail reports.
The owner of the villa, Lily Safra, 71, said she would donate the money to ten charities.
"By transforming the deposit into an act of giving I would like to encourage all who can do so to support medical research and other humanitarian causes," she told The Times of London.
Mr Prokhorov is worth an estimated €6.6 billion and is the 24th richest man in the world.
It is not the first time the billionaire, famous is Russia for his playboy lifestyle, has appeared before French courts.
In 2007 he was arrested at a French ski resort for allegedly arranging up to 20 prostitutes for his guests.
He was released after four days and later cleared of all charges.
Mrs Safra inherited the villa from her billionaire banker husband, Edmund Safra.
Mr Safra died after being murdered by his male nurse in Monaco in 1999.