Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been revealed as the buyer of a French chateau that became the world's most expensive property when it sold for $300million in 2015.
The owner of the palace - which features a wine cellar, home theatre and moat filled with koi carp - was kept hidden at the time behind a series of shell companies based in France and Luxembourg.
But an investigation by the New York Times has found that the companies are all owned by Eight Investment Company, a Saudi firm managed by the head of the prince's personal foundation.
Chateau Louis XIV became the world's most expensive home when it sold for $300million back in 2015, and now the buyer has been revealed as Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman
While the property was completed in 2011 it is kitted out to resemble a 17th Century French mansion, with a huge ceiling fresco. It also includes modern touches such as this underwater viewing tank submerged in the koi carp-filled moat
Salman's identity was concealed at the time using a string of shell companies based in France and Luxembourg, but their owner is Eight Investment Company which manages wealth on behalf of the Saudi royals
Advisers to the Saudi royal family said that the chateau ultimately belongs to Salman, who is currently running a sweeping corruption probe in his home country which has seen hundreds of wealthy people jailed
Salman is also preaching financial austerity as he attempts to move the kingdom away from dependency on oil as part of a reform project dubbed Vision 2030
Advisers to the Saudi royal family confirmed to the Times that the palace ultimately belongs to Salman.
The prince was also behind the recent purchase of Leonardo Da Vinci's Salvator Mundi which became the most expensive artwork ever sold when it swapped hands for $450million earlier this month, the Times believes.
At the time Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud, another lesser-known Saudi prince, was named as the buyer of the painting.
But those close to the sale and American intelligence services say he was actually acting on behalf of Salman,
Eight Investment Company was also used to buy the prince's spectacular $400million superyacht Pegasus VIII from a Russian vodka tycoon in 2015.
The company recently purchased another 620-acre French property which is now being refurbished and fitted with a hunting lodge. It is not clear if this property belongs to Salman, since the firm manages wealth for several prominent Saudi royals.
Before the chateau was sold to Salman, Kim Kardashian visited the property as a potential venue for her wedding to Kanye
The home has a lavish ballroom, underground nightclub, a cavernous wine cellar, a squash court, and a home cinema
The property is surrounded by landscaped gardens which feature a statue of statue of former French monarch Louis XIV, or Louis the Great, who ruled the country for a record 72 years and whose love of opulence inspired the creation
Emad Khashoggi, nephew of a billionaire arms dealer,
developed the property, with the deputy mayor during the construction saying it was his 'dream to build something like that'
Salman was revealed as the estate's buyer at a time when he is cracking down on what he says is corruption among the country's elite.
Hundreds of the kingdom's most prominent and wealthiest individuals have been detained at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Riyadh, with many saying they have been told to cough up huge sums of money in return for freedom.
Salman has said he hopes to raise $100billion from seizing what he claims are ill-gotten gains.
He is also overseeing a reformation project dubbed Vision 2030 which will see the kingdom diversify away from oil while seeking to balance the government accounts.
Also on the agenda is curtailing Saudi's powerful Islamic clerics by moving toward a more moderate form of Islam, including allowing women to drive and licencing cinemas to reopen.