Mundi buyer was a Saudi prince

Christie's employees pose in front of Salvator Mundi by Leonardo da Vinci at Christie's auction house in central London on Oct. 22 2017

"Salvator Mundi", an ethereal portrait of Jesus Christ which dates to about 1500, the last privately owned Leonardo da Vinci painting, is on display for the media at Christie's auction in New York, NY, U.S., October 10, 2017.

It had sold for a mere 45 British pounds in 1958, when the painting was thought to have been a copy, and was lost until it resurfaced at a regional auction in 2005.

A friend of Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman revealed as mystery buyer of a painting of Christ by Leonardo Da Vinci that recently sold for a record $450 million.

Neither Prince Bader nor Christie's confirmed the speculation. He belonged to a lesser branch of the royal family, the Farhan, who descended from a brother of an 18th century ruler of Saudi Arabia.

Although Prince Badar did not respond to The Times' detailed request for comment, the Louvre in Abu Dhabi - a museum in the United Arab Emirates - tweeted Wednesday that the "Salvator Mundi" was "coming to Louvre Abu Dhabi", The Times said. They both attended the King Saud University, Riyadh, at the same time.

The crown prince's supporters portray him as a reformer, but the campaign of extrajudicial arrests has been unprecedented for modern Saudi Arabia, worrying western governments about political stability in the world's largest oil producer, alarming rights advocates and investors about the rule of law, and roiling energy markets. One such position was linked closely to the family. According to the report, Prince Bader was appointed the governor of a new commission, headed by Prince Mohammed, which will work towards turning the Al Ola province into a tourist area.

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The Saudi art-world figure told The Journal that Prince Bader "is a proxy" for Prince Mohammed.

The firm's website describes him as "one of Saudi Arabia's youngest" entrepreneurs, present in sectors including real estate, telecommunications and recycling.

The New York Times report said Prince Bader took part in the auction of the painting through telephone on November 15. The extra $50 million was included due to the additional fee that has to be paid by the buyer.

Another mysterious fact regarding the painting was revealed when the official Twitter account of The Louver Abu Dhabi posted on Monday that the painting will be among the exhibited works in the museum.

Prince Mohammed, in turn, has been called an admirer of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan.

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