MILLIONAIRE property developer Paul Fridman has become a reluctant benefactor to St Kilda's 1200 penguins, following a late-night speedboat jaunt that ended when his $200,000 cruiser crashed into their rocky colony.

Melbourne Magistrates Court has found Mr Fridman, 35, of Brighton, guilty of being intoxicated while at the helm of an 11-metre Riviera cruiser that crashed into rocks near St Kilda Pier 17 months ago. The incident left him with facial injuries and financial losses of about $250,000.

On Thursday, the court heard how Mr Fridman had to pay $41,000 to Parks Victoria for reparation work to the breakwater and removal of leaked fuel and chemicals that threatened the penguin colony. It was also told that one of his cheques had bounced.

A regular on the BRW Young Rich List, Mr Fridman was also unlicensed and failed to keep a proper lookout when the boat collided with the breakwater and sank about 4am on November 27, 2010.
Mr Fridman was unable to make an insurance claim on the $200,000 vessel because he recorded an alcohol reading of 0.1 when tested at The Alfred hospital. He had owned the boat for less than a month.

Mr Fridman's defence lawyer, Robert Galbally, denied his client had been speeding on the night of the accident. Mr Galbally said Fridman had failed to see the breakwater's beacon because of a half-metre swell and had been thrown off course by the waves.

Magistrate Jack Vandersteen appeared unconvinced.

''I think he was drunk and drove into the rocks … he was motoring along,'' he said.

Mr Vandersteen fined Mr Fridman $2000 and disqualified him from holding a boat licence for six months.

In 2010, Mr Fridman told The Sunday Age that he was not intoxicated and denied he was the driver of the boat. He did not return several calls last week.

With an estimated fortune of $80 million, Mr Fridman founded his development company, Fridcorp, at the age of 21. He has been involved in several luxury apartment projects in Melbourne's inner suburbs, which have often had the financial backing of prominent Melbourne businessman Daniel Besen.