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Saudi's Crown Prince has the world's most expensive home

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A multi-million dollar "gaudy" chateau close to the Versailles Palace in France has been linked to Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, according to a New York Times investigation, reported The New Arab (UK).

Chateau Louis XIV lies just outside Paris and became the most expensive home in world when it was sold two years ago for $300 million.

The company that picked up the cheque for the chateau was linked to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the newspaper reported.

It follows other multi-million dollar purchases for other luxury good that have all been linked back to the crown prince.

Anti-graft
The revelation that bin Salman could be behind the purchase of the world's most expensive mansion - with its gold leafed fountains and 57 acres of landscaped gardens - comes as he launches a very public campaign targeting allegedly corrupt Saudi officials in the kingdom.

This week, the latest target of his so-called anti-corruption drive was Palestinian-Jordanian businessman Sabih al-Masri, who was briefly detained without explanation before being released on Sunday.

Scores more royals and businessmen have been detained at Riyadh's Ritz hotel, where they appear to have been questioned on their business assets and frisked for billions of dollars.

Although many believe the wave of arrests was designed to consolidate MbS' grip on power, the crown prince has always insisted the purge was part of an anti-corruption drive.

A report by The New York Times now shows that the Versailles chataeu is owned by Eight Investment Company, a Saudi company managed by the chief of Mohammed bin Salman's personal foundation.

It is the same company that backed the prince's purchase of a 400 foot yacht at a cost of around $550 million. The deal that was finalised after just a few hours of negotiations as MbS relaxed on the beach, the newspaper said.

Paper trail
The paper trail to find the owner of the Chateau Louis XIV and nearby Le Rouvray found two French companies bought the properties.

They in turn were owned by a Luxembourg company Prestigestate SARL, which itself was headed by Saudi Arabia's Eight Investment Company.

The manager of Prestigestate SARL and Eight Investment was a man named Thamer Nassief, who names himself as "President of Crown Prince Private Affairs" on his Linkedin profile, the newspaper found.

Documents showed that Eight Investment is owned by "members of the Saudi royal Family" and its "wealth is derived from the king and the state".

Three major shareholders are all names linked to Mohammed bin Salman or his father King Salman.

It follows reports that the buyer of the world's most expensive painting sold in auction was a member of the Saudi royal family with links to MbS.

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Reporter: Denes Osvalt
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Category: Business
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