Real Estate

The man who bought the ‘world’s most expensive home’ has reportedly been unmasked

Key Points
  • The chateau was sold in 2015 for a reported $301 million
  • At the time the buyer was not revealed
  • Now the New York Times says Crown Prince Bin Salman is the owner
Chateau Louis XIV in Louveciennes, near Paris, is owned by Crown Prince Bin Salman of Saudi Arabia.
Reuters | Charles Platiau

The mystery behind who owns a $300 million French chateau appears to have been solved.

Chateau Louis XIV is a 54,000 square foot palace near Versailles which, when sold in 2015, was described by at least two reports as "the world's most expensive home."

The identity of the buyer was not revealed but the New York Times has claimed in a report that the buyer was Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.

The newspaper's investigation said the purchase ranks alongside a number of recent extravagances by the crown prince, including a $450 million Leonardo da Vinci painting and a $500 million yacht.

Who's in charge in Saudi Arabia?

Bin Salman is publicly leading a modernist drive in Saudi Arabia and has successfully cultivated an image as a sweeping reformer, prepared to root out corruption. The unveiling of the prince's ownership may cause accusations of hypocrisy as he is currently demanding that Saudi Arabia's elite adopt a less lavish lifestyle.

The New York Times said that Chateau Louis XIV's ownership was concealed by various shell companies in France and Luxembourg, who were all ultimately owned by Eight Investment Company. That firm is run by the head of Bin Salman's personal foundation according the newspaper, who also detailed the prince's other lavish spending habits.

Neither Bin Salman or the Saudi government responded to requests for comment when contacted by the Times. A spokesperson for the Saudi embassy in the U.K. was not immediately available for comment when contacted by CNBC.

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