The Saudi Arabian embassy in Washington, D.C., says that a painting by Leonardo da Vinci that sold for $450 million at an auction in New York was purchased by a member of the royal family on behalf of a museum in the United Arab Emirates.
The embassy says Prince Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud bought the , titled "Salvator Mundi," for the Department of Culture and Tourism in Abu Dhabi so it could be displayed there at the newly opened branch of the Louvre museum.
The Wall Street Journal and New York Times both reported Thursday that Bader was acting as a proxy for Saudi Arabia's crown prince.
The identity of the owner and ultimate destination of the artwork plays a big role in whether the sale is taxed. Unless the owner decides to hang the work in Manhattan — or has it shipped out of the country using the wrong type of carrier — New York City won't get any taxes.
The state's laws are structured so that out-of-town buyers don't get hit with a big tax bill.
An expert says if the city taxes them, its status as a global center for art sales might be jeopardized.