The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia who is cracking down on corruption has been revealed as the buyer of a French chateau that became the world’s most expensive property when it sold for $300million in 2015, according to a report by Dailymail.
The Prince identified as Mohammed bin Salman is said to be the owner of the palace – which features a wine cellar, home theatre and moat filled with koi carp – was kept hidden at the time behind a series of shell companies based in France and Luxembourg.
Advisers to the Saudi royal family confirmed to the Times that the palace ultimately belongs to Salman.
The prince was also behind the recent purchase of Leonardo Da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi which became the most expensive artwork ever sold when it swapped hands for $450million earlier this month, the Times believes.
But those close to the sale and American intelligence services say he was actually acting on behalf of Salman.
Eight Investment Company was also used to buy the prince’s spectacular $400million superyacht Pegasus VIII from a Russian vodka tycoon in 2015.
The company recently purchased another 620-acre French property which is now being refurbished and fitted with a hunting lodge. It is not clear if this property belongs to Salman, since the firm manages wealth for several prominent Saudi royals.
Salman was revealed as the estate’s buyer at a time when he is cracking down on what he says is corruption among the country’s elite.
Hundreds of the kingdom’s most prominent and wealthiest individuals have been detained at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Riyadh, with many saying they have been told to cough up huge sums of money in return for freedom.
Salman has said he hopes to raise $100billion from seizing what he claims are ill-gotten gains.