SPRAWLING: Leopolda estate, in Villefranche-sur-Mer, French Riviera, August 2008. The estate was sold to Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov for € 370 million (US$503.6 million), plus € 19.5 million (US$26.5) for the furniture in August 2008 but later the Russian magnate refused to clinch the deal. Originally built by King Leopold II of Belgium at the beginning of 1900, the cream-colored villa is set in 20 acres of gardens overlooking Cap Ferrat, near Villefranche-sur-Mer. (Eric Estrade/AFP/Getty Images)
Russian billionaire, Mikhail Prokhorov, has lost a $53 million deposit on the French villa he decided not to purchase. The money was a 10 percent deposit that a French court ruled nonrefundable on Monday.
The $530 million villa, Leopolda estate located in Villefranche-sur-Mer, French Riviera, is currently owned by Lily Safra, the widow of Lebanese-Jewish banking billionaire Edmond Safra.
Prokhorov, a self-made billionaire, and richest man in Russia, came in at number 40 on the 2009 Forbes Rich List. His fortunes halved in the financial crisis but he seemed relatively unfazed.
"What I like for Russia is that we have such extremes, I like this," Prokhorov told the BBC last summer. "Sometimes it's good, sometimes it's not very good. If you can live in these extremes, it's like fresh water all the time."
Prokhorov has close ties to the New York area as he is expected to get approval to buy the New Jersey Nets basketball team next week.