Saudi warmongering crown prince plays at being King Louis XIV


This December 2015 French video is about the “Louis XIV” castle in Louveciennes local authority, then sold for 275 millions euros. That made it the most expensive mansion ever sold. That it is not really, in spite of its name, a castle built for French absolute monarch Louis XIV one might already guess from the furniture inside. That is not in the style of 17th century Louis XIV, but of his 18th century successor Louis XVI. Louis XVI, who helped to design the guillotine for beheading people and who ended up as one of its victims during the French revolution.

The castle is neither from the time of Louis XIV nor the time of Louis XVI. It was built in 2009. The property developer had a more ancient castle which used to be there destroyed for his ´development´.

French President Macron likes playing at being King Louis XIV. Now it turns out that he is not the only man in world politics to do that.

From the New York Times in the USA

World’s Most Expensive Home? Another Bauble for a Saudi Prince

A $300 million chateau is one of a string of extravagant purchases for a prince who is cracking down on ill-gotten wealth and preaching fiscal austerity.

The crown prince of Saudi Arabia is preaching, and also practising, austerity for poor people in Saudi Arabia. He does not practice it for himself and his royal supporters. A bit like rulers in the USA, UK and other countries.

By NICHOLAS KULISH and MICHAEL FORSYTHE

DEC. 16, 2017

LOUVECIENNES, France — When the Chateau Louis XIV sold for over $300 million two years ago, Fortune magazine called it “the world’s most expensive home”, and Town & Country swooned over its gold-leafed fountain, marble statues and hedged labyrinth set in a 57-acre landscaped park. But for all the lavish details, one fact was missing: the identity of the buyer.

Now, it turns out that the paper trail leads to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, heir to the Saudi throne

The 2015 purchase appears to be one of several extravagant acquisitions — including a $500 million yacht and a $450 million Leonardo da Vinci painting — by [the] prince …

“He has tried to build an image of himself, with a fair amount of success,

‘Success’ mainly with right-wing New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman

that he is different, that he’s a reformer, at least a social reformer, and that he’s not corrupt”, said Bruce O. Riedel, a former C.I.A. analyst and author. “And this is a severe blow to that image.”

The story of Chateau Louis XIV, as pieced together through interviews and documents by The New York Times, unfolds like a financial whodunit, featuring a lawyer in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and a fixer for the very rich from the Mediterranean nation of Malta. Even Kim Kardashian made a cameo at the chateau, reportedly considering it for her wedding to Kanye West.

The ownership of the chateau, in Louveciennes, France, near Versailles, is carefully shrouded by shell companies in France and Luxembourg. Those companies are owned by Eight Investment Company, a Saudi firm managed by the head of Crown Prince Mohammed’s personal foundation. Advisers to members of the royal family say the chateau ultimately belongs to the crown prince.

Eight Investment was the same company that backed Prince Mohammed’s impulse buy of the 440-foot yacht from a Russian vodka tycoon in 2015. The company also recently bought an 620-acre estate in Condé-sur-Vesgre, known as Le Rouvray, an hour’s drive from Paris. The chateau’s architect is refurbishing the manor house there and building structures for an apparent hunting compound, according to permit records at the local town hall.

Versailles Style, Modern Amenities

The chateau’s developer, Emad Khashoggi, nephew of the late billionaire arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi, bulldozed a 19th-century castle in Louveciennes to make way for the new chateau in 2009. To the naked eye it appears to have been built in the time of Versailles, the royal palace that set a world standard for gaudy luxury. But the 17th-century design camouflages 21st-century technology. The fountains, sound system, lights and whisper-silent air conditioning can all be controlled remotely by iPhone.

Along with more standard flourishes for top-of-the-line properties, like a wine cellar and movie theater, the rotunda features an exquisite fresco on the ceiling while the moat includes a transparent underwater chamber with sturgeon and koi swimming overhead. A statue of Louis XIV made of Carrara marble stands watch over the grounds.

[Crown Prince Mohammed] launched an air campaign in Yemen and spearheaded the blockade of Qatar.

The prince’s war on Yemen brings butchery, starvation and cholera for the civilians of Yemen. Like other Saudi armed forces violently occupy Bahrain to stop the local pro-democracy movement and still others oppress the anti-regime people of the oil rich eastern province of the Saudi kingdom.

the government has tried to close yawning budget deficits with financial discipline.

But last year, even as the government canceled a quarter of a trillion dollars’ worth of projects to rein in deficits, King Salman was building a luxurious new vacation palace on the Moroccan coast.

The year before, shortly after he was named deputy crown prince, Prince Mohammed was vacationing in the south of France when he fancied a magnificent yacht with two swimming pools and a helicopter.

A trove of records leaked from a Bermuda law firm, known as the Paradise Papers, reveal how platoons of lawyers, bankers and accountants in Germany, Bermuda and the Isle of Man worked furiously to quickly transfer ownership to Eight Investment. The price, according to drafts of the contract, was 420 million euros, or $494 million in today’s dollars — even more than that for the chateau. …

Véronique Skrotzky, who used to forage for mushrooms when the run-down old chateau stood in its place, lamented that the owner never seemed to stay there, and that the property and grounds were closed to the public.

“Before it was a ruin only for ghosts,” she said. “Now it is brand new for ghosts.”

The crown prince of the Saudi absolute monarchy likes the French absolute monarchy of centuries ago so much. But does he really know how that regime ended, with the death penalty for the king? The Saudi royals may try to maintain their power with oppression. They may have bloggers flogged for blogging. They may have women whipped for driving. They may have teenagers beheaded for demonstrating for democracy. But a time may come, like in France in 1789, when the repression will not work any more. Then, Crown Prince Mohammed must fear for an end like King Louis XVI. It will probably not be completely similar. As beheading in Saudi Arabia is done with swords, not with the guillotine.

Donald Trump on Saudi leadership shake-up: “We’ve put our man on top!”: here.

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