How the Mysterious Da Vinci Buyer Is Related to Saudi's Crown Prince

Salvator Mundi Leonardo da Vinci

The revelation of Times published this Wednesday is known on same day that it was announced that painting will be exhibited in Louvre of Abu Dhabi.

USA government intelligence sources and a Saudi art-world figure all confirmed to The Journal that Crown Prince Mohammed was the buyer of a $450 million Leonardo da Vinci painting of Jesus Christ.

A Saudi prince has been revealed as the buyer of the world's most expensive painting, priced at a staggering $450 million in an auction at the world-famous Christie's Auction House in November.

It had sold for a mere 45 British pounds in 1958, when the painting was thought to have been a copy, and was lost until it resurfaced at a regional auction in 2005.

Despite Prince Bader's relatively obscure status, he is seen as a close friend of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and has become more prominent in the kingdom since the crown prince's ascension.

On Wednesday, a New York Times investigation revealed the identity of the mysterious buyer, citing insider documents. According to the New York Times, the buyer is a little-known prince from Saudi Arabia. But there is little known about Prince Bader, as he is not well-known as an art collector.

The crown prince's supporters portray him as a reformer, but the campaign of extrajudicial arrests has been unprecedented for modern Saudi Arabia, worrying western governments about political stability in the world's largest oil producer, alarming rights advocates and investors about the rule of law, and roiling energy markets.

The nature of the painting - a rendition of Christ - and the timing of the purchase - less than two weeks after the corruption purge - calls into question whether the crown prince has been selectively targeting people in the crackdown, The Times reported.

Prince Bader is listed as a director of Houston-based Energy Holdings International, Inc.

He was the chairman (appointed by Prince Mohammed) of Saudi Research and Marketing Group, the publisher of Arab newspaper Al Share Al Awsat and other publications. This can be linked to what he said to the lawyers of Christie regarding his financial sources. This could be because Prince Mohammed is a supporter and ally of Abu Dhabi's crown prince, Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan. The description also goes on to say Prince Bader was "active" in real estate projects in Saudi Arabia, Dubai and the Middle East for over five years.

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