Alwaght- Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman used a proxy to buy the $450m Leonardo da Vinci painting the Salvator Mundi.
According to a Thursday report of the Wall Street Journal, the buyer of the painting was a little-known Saudi prince with no history as an art collector and no publicly declared source of wealth.
Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud, who is close to the crown prince, was identified by the New York Times as the new owner of the artwork.
It has been reported that the crown prince was the buyer of the painting by Leonardo da Vinci that broke records and raised eyebrows when it was sold for $450.3m (£334m) at Christie's in November.
The winner of the New York auction was Prince Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed. But according to US intelligence reports, Bader bought it on behalf of the crown prince, who is a distant relative.
The purchase comes at a time when the Saudi government, under the instruction of bin Salman, was rounding up dozens of billionaire princes and businessmen in what it said was a crackdown on corruption and excess. The Saudi regime has also been implementing austerity measures badly affecting citizens across the kingdom.
"The image of the crown prince spending that much money to buy a painting when he's supposed to be leading an anti-corruption drive is staggering," Bruce Riedel, ex-CIA officer and leading expert on Saudi politics told the WSJ.
The painting is set to be exhibited at Louvre museum in Abu Dhabi in the UAE, a close ally of Saudi Arabia.