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Exclusive: Bin Zayed offers Bin Salman a yacht in exchange for painting

February 26, 2018 at 3:12 pm

Topaz is one of the most expensive yachts in the world. It was owned by Mansour Bin Zayed [Twitter]

Arabi21 has learnt that the UAE’s Mohammed Bin Zayed has offered Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman a luxury yacht after the latter found himself compelled to hand over Da Vinci’s Saviour of the World painting to the Louvre Museum in Abu Dhabi because of the uproar that the purchase of the painting caused at the end of last year.

Sources, who asked to remain anonymous, said that the cost of the yacht, originally owned by Mansour Bin Zayed, the brother of the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, was $450 million. Topaz is one of the world’s longest and well-known yachts. Websites specialising in such luxury vessels list it at 147 metres long, with 26 bedrooms able to accommodate 52 people.

According to the sources, the gift was in exchange for the Salvatore Mundi (Saviour of the World) painting which Bin Salman bought in December, also for $ 450 million. He felt compelled to give it to the Louvre Museum in Abu Dhabi because of the uproar caused by a New York Times article which revealed that the buyer of the most expensive painting ever sold was the Saudi Crown Prince.

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The NYT originally said that the buyer was Prince Badr Bin Abdullah Bin Mohammed Al-Farhan Al-Saud, and suggested that he most likely bought it for Bin Salman. Saudi media denied this at the time.

Following the uproar, the UAE’s branch of the Louvre announced that the Saviour of the World had been bought for the museum and that it would be displayed there. This pushed the NYT to confirm that the real buyer was Bin Salman. The newspaper pointed out that, “US officials who had access to intelligence reports and Arab officials who knew about the details of the purchase of the painting confirmed once again that Mohammad Bin Salman is the real buyer of the painting.”