Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince of saudi arabia, has been revealed as the owner of world’s most expensive home.
The identity of the buyer remained secret for more than two years. The owner of the “most expensive home in the world”, the Château Louis XIV located in Louveciennes near Versailles, acquired this property at the end of 2015 for 300 million dollars, reports the New York Times, which specifies that the proud owner is none other than the Saudi prince Mohammed bin Salman, heir to the throne and 32 years old.
Despite its historical name, the Château Louis XIV is a recent construction, completed in 2011, with the techniques and materials of the seventeenth century. It was created thanks to the Franco-Saudi promoter Emad Khashoggi, whose historical heritage inspire him to build or rehabilitate sumptuous homes, according to French magazine Paris Match. Marble, fountains, reproduction of the basin of Apollo’s chariot of the Palace of Versailles, 200 chandeliers made by hand, gold leaf… Nothing is too extravagant for the giant house, which mobilized 120 workers on the site for two and a half years.
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The Crown Prince, nicknamed “MBS”, is currently shaking the politics of the ultra-conservative kingdom. In late October, he promised a “moderate” Saudi Arabia, breaking with the image of a country long considered the exporter of Wahhabism, a rigorous version of Islam that fed many jihadists around the world . He has also launched several reform projects (driving rights and cinema openings for women by example), which mark the greatest cultural and economic upheaval in the modern history of the kingdom.
The revelation of his identity as the owner of the Château Louis XIV has something to say; the prince preaches austerity in his country but seems to not practice it abroad. He recently arrested over a hundred personalities (princes, ministers, businessmen) during an anti-corruption purge in November. Still according to the New York Times, at the same time, “MBS” would have also bought a yacht whose value is estimated at more than 500 million dollars, as well as the painting of Leonardo da Vinci, “Salvator Mundi”, which became in November the most expensive painting of all time after being awarded 450 million dollars. The Saudi government has denied the report.
The New York Times states that “the real identity of the owner of the castle (…) has been carefully concealed behind facade companies registered in France and Luxembourg. The latter belong to Eight Investment Company, a Saudi company directed by the manager of the personal foundation of Prince Mohammed “, according to the Times.