Pro-austerity Saudi prince buys world's most expensive home

The Chateau Louis XIV. Designed by Cogemad.
The Chateau Louis XIV. Designed by Cogemad.

A SAUDI crown prince - who boldly put his royal cousins and members of his country's business elite under house arrest as part of an "anti-corruption" coup - has been outed as the secret buyer of the world's most expensive home.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the 32-year-old heir to the Saudi throne, bought the $A392 million newly built chateau near Versailles in Louveciennes, France, the New York Times reported.

The Chateau Louis XIV.
The Chateau Louis XIV.

The home was constructed in three years by developer Emad Khashoggi, the nephew of the late arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi. Emad tore down a majestic but crumbling 19th century chateau at the site to build the new one. Kim Kardashian once reportedly considered it as a wedding venue for her marriage to Kanye West.

The property is smart-wired - all the fountains, lights, air, heat and sound can be turned on by an iPhone anywhere in the world. It also contains a moat filled with sturgeon and koi that can be seen from a transparent underwater room.

The underwater room in the Chateau Louis XIV.
The underwater room in the Chateau Louis XIV.


The Chateau Louis XIV.
The Chateau Louis XIV.

The prince paid a jaw-dropping $A588 million, via a proxy prince, at auction for Leonardo da Vinci's Salvator Mundi this year.

In addition, Crown Prince Mohammed is the owner of a 440-foot yacht that is even more expensive than the house - a $A645 million vessel with two pools and a helipad, which he bought, on impulse, from a Russian oligarch after spotting it while holidaying in France. He was outed for that extravagantly pricey purchase thanks to leaked legal firm documents from Bermuda known as the Paradise Papers.

He also owns a 620-acre estate in Conde-Sur-Vesgre, known as "Le Rouvray," an hour outside of Paris.

Saudi-watchers say it is risky for Crown Prince Mohammed to jail enemies for corruption and tout fiscal conservancy at home, especially as oil prices drop, while he continues to pay record prices to add to his personal collection of the world's most expensive things.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Picture: Presidency Press Service
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Picture: Presidency Press Service

Such actions betray him as yet another royal stealing from the wealth of his people instead of a reformer who has pledged to let women have basic freedoms, like the right to drive a car, critics charge.

Presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner, 36, has had several meetings with the crown prince, who look at each other as contemporaries. Saudi Arabia is considered key to any Middle East peace deal.

This article originally appeared on the New York Post and has been republished here with permission.

Topics:  austerity editors picks emad khashoggi mohammed bin salman saudi arabia saudi prince

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