'Salvatore Mundi's' mysterious buyer is Arab Prince

Angelo Anderson
December 7, 2017

Also, The New York Times posted documents that emphasized the cultural and artistic role of Prince Bader in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Unlike much of the Saudi elite, which has been scooped up or intimidated into silence by Prince Mohammed's ongoing purge, Prince Bader appears to be in good standing with the heir apparent to King Salman's thrown.

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.

Christie's representatives attempted to identify Prince Bader and his source of finances before the sale, after he gave a $100 million deposit to qualify for the auction, The Times said.

The French weekly le Journal du Dimanche earlier reported that two investment firms were behind the painting's purchase as part of a financial arrangement involving several museums.

Prince Bader is listed as a director of Houston-based Energy Holdings International, Inc. He belonged to a lesser branch of the royal family, the Farhan, who descended from a brother of an 18th century ruler of Saudi Arabia. However, Prince Bader attended King Saud University in Riyadh around the same time or along with Prince Mohammed. United States intelligence reports have been closely tracking Prince Mohammed's activities, according to The Journal, and identified him as the painting's buyer.


The latter detail, however, was in fact far from reassuring: Saudi Arabia's many princes have caused quite a stir in the news lately, as last month the country's government detained more than 200 people in a crackdown on corruption and embezzled funds amounting to hundreds of billions of dollars, which included singling out many of its most prominent princes.

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.

'Congratulations, ' Christie's said in a tweeted reply to the Louvre Abu Dhabi.

The New York Times report said Prince Bader took part in the auction of the painting through telephone on November 15. The report stated the price of the painting went up to $400 million, which ended the auction with Prince Bader winning the bid.

The famous Leonardo da Vinci painting of Jesus Christ was headed for the new Louvre Abu Dhabi museum, according to Agence France-Presse.

Prince Mohammed, in turn, has been called an admirer of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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