Saudi Arabia's crown prince, who is leading a crackdown on corruption, bought the world's priciest home

Patrice Diaz/Wikimedia CommonsThe formal gardens of the Chateau Louis XIV in Louveciennes, France.
  • The New York Times reported that Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had purchased what was described as the most expensive home in the world.
  • It sold in 2015 for $US300 million, but the identity of the buyer remained a mystery.
  • The home is part of a series of high-scale acquisitions for Salman, who has recently led an anti-corruption probe targeting Saudi Arabia’s elite.

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been revealed to be the owner of the world’s priciest residence.

The extravagant Chateau Louis XIV sold in 2015 to an unnamed Middle Eastern buyer for over $US299 million, making it the most expensive residence in the world at the time – and Salman acquired the 57-acre estate through a Saudi-owned investment company managed by his personal foundation, The New York Times reported, citing documents and interviews.

The Times reported that the chateau was purchased through a series of proxy companies in France and Luxembourg, allowing Salman to maintain his anonymity. Those companies are owned by Eight Investment Company, a firm managed by the head of Salman’s personal estate, according to the report.

Advisers to the royal family say the megamansion belongs to Salman, the report says.

The villa is part of a series of high-scale acquisitions for Salman, including a $US500 million yacht and a luxury vacation palace in Morocco.

The lavish chateau, near the Palace of Versailles, was constructed over three years by Cogemad, an ultraluxury developer.

Chateu louisPatrice Diaz/Wikimedia CommonsThe chateau’s exterior.

The home was built to 17th-century traditional French standards, but the interior features state-of-the-art amenities including an elevator, an aquarium, a cinema with reclining chairs, and a wine cellar.

Previously, the most expensive home was a London penthouse that sold in 2011 for a considerably lower $US221 million.

Since being named the crown prince earlier this year, Salman has led an anti-corruption probe targeting Saudi Arabia’s elite.

The government estimates that $US100 billion has been misused through embezzlement and corruption in past decades, and it is trying to recover at least that amount. Saudi Arabia has asked several top officials caught up in the crackdown to pay 70% of their wealth in return for their freedom.

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