Saudi prince bought record-breaking $450 million Da Vinci painting

REVEALED: The mystery buyer of Leonardo da Vinci painting sold for record $450M in at NYC auction is little known and obscure Saudi prince

He may be busy leading a crackdown on the alleged ill-gotten gains of his political rivals, but Saudi Arabia's Mohammed Bin Salman looks like he still has time for the finer things in life.

The winning bid in the November 15 auction at Christie's in NY was made anonymously by phone using a Christie's representative.

Normally, news of a wealthy and powerful member of Saudi Arabia's royal family buying a piece of art would not raise any interest.

The New York Times on Wednesday, citing documents it reviewed, identified the buyer as Saudi Arabia's Prince Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud, whose country forbids the official worship of Christ or any other religion except Islam.

A friend of Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman revealed as mystery buyer of a painting of Christ by Leonardo Da Vinci that recently sold for a record $450 million.

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Little is known about Prince Bader, whose name only turns up on the website of a Saudi Arabian energy company, Energy Holdings International, which names Bader as "one of Saudi Arabia's youngest entrepreneurs".

The identity of the buyer became something of a parlor game.

Prince Bader did not present himself as a bidder until the day before the auction. Even then, Christie's lawyers remained suspicious, persisting in asking him where he got the money and what his relationship was with the Saudi ruler, King Salman.

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.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is behind the purchase of most expensive painting ever sold at auction.

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The Louvre Abu Dhabi, the first museum to bear the Louvre name outside France, has been billed as "the first universal museum in the Arab world" in a sign of the oil-rich emirate's global ambitions.

The painting will be exhibited at the Abu Dhabi branch of the Louvre, according to a tweet by the museum yesterday. They turned it down, and did not bid on it this time around. The painting's authenticity is still widely questioned by many experts, while the issue of overpainting, restoration and conservation will always be an underlying issue.

The first works on loan from the Louvre in Paris include another painting by Da Vinci - 'La Belle Ferronniere, ' one of his portraits of women.

The previous owner of Salvator Mundi was a Russian businessman, Dmitry Rybolovlev, who purchased it for $127 million in 2013.

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