Tycoon charged over luxury speed boat crash

A MILLIONAIRE property developer has been charged with a string of offences after he smashed a luxury speed boat into rocks near St Kilda Pier last year.

Paul Fridman, 35, of Brighton, was allegedly intoxicated, unlicensed and speeding when he crashed the 11-metre Riviera cruiser at 3.45 on the morning of November 27 last year.

The uninsured vessel sank inside the St Kilda breakwater and threatened a colony of 1200 penguins, while Mr Fridman was treated for knee and facial injuries at The Alfred hospital.

A Water Police spokeswoman confirmed a 35-year-old Brighton man had been charged with two counts of exceeding the prescribed concentration of alcohol, unlicensed operation of a vessel, failing to maintain a proper lookout and failing to maintain a safe speed to avoid collision. He will appear in Melbourne Magistrates Court on February 28.

Mr Fridman is believed to have bought the $220,000 boat from the owner of a Melbourne construction company less than a month before the accident.

Soon after the crash, Mr Fridman told The Sunday Age that he was not affected by drugs or alcohol. He claimed he was returning from a late-night fishing trip and denied he was driving the boat. At the time of the crash, he was with another 35-year-old Brighton man, who was not injured.

Mr Fridman did not return several calls. His executive assistant said he was not available to discuss the matter.

Mr Fridman is a regular on the BRW Young Rich List with an estimated fortune of $80 million in 2011.

In a separate incident last year, Mr Fridman pleaded guilty to possessing cocaine.

Mr Fridman founded his development company, Fridcorp, at the age of 21. He has been involved in several luxury apartment projects, which often have had the financial backing of prominent Melbourne businessmen Daniel Besen and Joe Gersh.

chouston@theage.com.au

This article Tycoon charged over luxury speed boat crash was originally published in The Sydney Morning Herald.