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Is The Saudi Crown Prince Mystery Buyer Of $450M Da Vinci Painting?

08 December 2017

U.S. intelligence reports, it seems, corroborated this version of events, noting that Prince Bader has previously collaborated with MBS on various deals and transactions.

Prince Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud was identified as the mystery buyer in a New York Times report published Wednesday, but is now reported to be a proxy for the crown prince.

As for Prince Bader, when he's not palling around with Prince Mohammed, he also works on side projects like partnerships with those ranging from Verizon to Michael Bloomberg, as well as large program he founded to manage the country's recycling.

Bader, a Saudi Arabian prince from a remote branch of the royal family, coughed up the record-shattering sum for the centuries-old painting of Jesus Christ in order to hang it in the newly opened branch of the Louvre in Abu Dhabi.

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It has strong links to the world famous Louvre in Paris and has borrowed 300 pieces of art from France.

The Louvre has not disclosed whether it will receive the painting as a gift, a loan or a rental.

A spokeswoman for Christie's, the auction house that sold Salvator Mundi, said it did not comment on the identities of any buyers or sellers without their permission.

But Prince Bader is a longtime friend of the crown prince, and he appears to have acted as an agent for him on at least one previous occasion, in the commission of an elaborate resort complex for a half-dozen princes in Prince Mohammed's immediate family.

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He is a board member of Energy Holdings International, an energy company with business in Middle East, Asia and Americas. Salvator Mundi is next recorded in a 1763 sale by Charles Herbert Sheffield, the illegitimate son of the Duke of Buckingham, who put it into auction following the sale of what is now Buckingham Palace to the king. Its rediscovery was followed by six years of painstaking research and inquiry to document its authenticity with the world's leading authorities on the works and career of da Vinci.

2011, saw the dramatic public unveiling of Salvator Mundi ('Savior of the World') in the exhibition Leonardo da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan, at The National Gallery, London.

The painting was sold again in 1958 and then acquired in 2005, badly damaged and partly painted over, by a consortium of art dealers who paid less than US$10,000.

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Is The Saudi Crown Prince Mystery Buyer Of $450M Da Vinci Painting?