Tag Archives: SAUDI ARABIA

How the most expensive painting in history caused a scandal in the art market

In France, a documentary film about the film “The Savior of the World” by Leonardo da Vinci is being released. Its authors promise to shed light on the political machinations associated with the most expensive painting in the world.

A new feature-length documentary, which will premiere on France 5 on April 13, claims that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman forced the Louvre to lie about the authenticity of a painting he bought to avoid public humiliation, as he spent $450 million on a fake.

French director Antoine Witkin’s film “The Saviour for Sale” is an investigation into how a controversial portrait of Jesus Christ, dubbed the “male Mona Lisa,” was held hostage by backroom deals between France and Saudi Arabia.

The painting “Savior of the World” entered world art history in 2017 when about a thousand collectors, dealers, and spectators gathered in the main auction hall of Rockefeller Center in New York, and the oldest auction house Christie’s sold the painting for a record $450 million, making it the most expensive in the world.

The huge public interest — 120,000 art fans followed the auction through a live Facebook feed-and the incredibly high final bid reflected the extreme rarity of Leonardo da Vinci’s original works. Despite the huge fame and influence of the Italian master, there are currently less than 20 paintings that are believed to have been painted by him, and all of them are part of museum collections. Christie’s called the painting “the greatest artistic discovery of the last 100 years.”

The first doubts about the authenticity of the “Savior of the World” arose when the Louvre Abu Dhabi (an ambitious cultural project designed by Jean Nouvel and received from the great French museum the right to share the name “Louvre” with it for 30 years. — Forbes) suddenly changed his mind to exhibit the painting in September 2018. It has not been shown publicly since.

Oil supplies from Russia in Poland will fall by half

Warsaw continues to reduce its oil dependence on Moscow, so the largest Polish oil refining company Orlen signed a new contract with Rosneft, where the volume of oil supplies in 2022-2023 is reduced from 5.4-6.6 million to 3.6 million tons.

“The monthly volume of supplies under the contract will amount to 300 thousand tons of raw materials. It meets the conditions agreed upon during negotiations with the Russian side. The limitation of volumes does not affect the safety of supplies to the refinery of the Orlen group,” the Polish company said in a statement.

The contract with the Polish company was one of the largest in the export portfolio of Rosneft, which dominated the Polish market. In addition, most of the Polish refineries were built with reference to the Druzhba pipeline, and the plant technologies were focused on processing Urals oil.

However, since 2016, Orlen has taken a course towards diversifying supplies, starting cooperation with Saudi Arabia, as well as purchasing oil shipments from Nigeria, Algeria, and the United States, and in January 2021 the Poles announced an increase in the supply of Saudi oil from 300 thousand to 400 thousand tons. In addition, in March, the Polish company announced a one-year contract with the Texas-based Exxon for 1 million tons of oil.

Let us remind you that this is not the first oil market from which the Russian Federation is being squeezed out. Thus, Russia lost the oil battle to Saudi Arabia for China. At the end of 2020, the Saudis supplied more oil to China than Russia: 84.92 million Mideast tons versus 83.57 million tonnes of staples.

It was also reported that in 2016-2018, Rosneft supplied 6-8.4 million tons of oil to Orlen, but the Poles managed to significantly reduce this volume.

Oil rises in price on the decision of OPEC+ under the terms of the deal to reduce production

The day before, the meeting of the ministers of the countries participating in the OPEC + agreement on reducing the volume of oil production ended. The decision made was the reason for the growth of oil quotations. It was decided to keep the production quotas envisaged under the deal in March in April.

OPEC + parties have refused to ramp up oil production next month. This came as a surprise to market experts. They assumed that the alliance would decide to increase the April production volume by 500 thousand BPD.

Saudi Arabia also announced that it will maintain its voluntary commitments to further cut production by 1 million BPD. Only Russia and Kazakhstan were allowed to increase oil production in April by 130 and 20 thousand b / d, respectively.

In the early morning, the price of a barrel of Brent crude rose to $67 41 cents, or 1%, from the price that was fixed at the close of trading on Thursday. The price of WTI oil rose to $64 44 cents or 0.99%.

The US accused the Saudi Prince of involvement in the murder of Khashoggi

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence of the United States published a report on the murder of Jamal Khashoggi in 2018 in Istanbul, which claims that the operation to capture or kill the journalist was personally approved by the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman.

The intelligence service believes that his level of control over decision-making in the country is so high that such actions could not take place without the approval of the prince.

“The Crown Prince viewed Khashoggi as a threat to the kingdom and broadly supported the use of violent measures if necessary to silence him,” the report said.

It states that Saudi officials planned the operation in advance, and provides a list of 21 people whom the United States “with a high degree of confidence” suspects in the murder of Khashoggi. At the same time, the intelligence service cannot claim that the persons involved knew in advance what the final outcome of this operation would be.

Khashoggi was killed in October 2018 in Istanbul at the Saudi consulate. At first, the Saudi authorities denied his disappearance at the diplomatic mission, but after some time after the appearance of video and audio recordings, they were forced to admit that Khashoggi was killed “as a result of an argument with consular employees.” Turkish police were never able to find his body.

The Arab media put forward versions that the order to kill Khashoggi, who criticized the actions of the Saudi authorities, could have been given by the pretender to the throne in the kingdom — Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. However, the Foreign Ministry of the kingdom stated that the Crown Prince had nothing to do with this crime.

Netanyahu secretly meet with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia

The Israeli Prime Minister, along with the US Secretary of State, secretly met with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. During the meeting, the sides discussed the normalization of relations between the countries.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu secretly visited Saudi Arabia, where he met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The meeting took place on Sunday, November 22, writes the New York Times.

According to the newspaper, the meeting was also attended by the director of Israel’s political intelligence Mossad Yossi Cohen.

Netanyahu’s office did not confirm this information but did not deny it either.

Later, the American newspaper Wall Street Journal, referring to one of the high-ranking Saudi advisers familiar with the negotiations, wrote that during a secret meeting, politicians discussed improving relations between the countries, as well as Iran.

According to media reports, no significant agreements have been reached.

The negotiations lasted no more than two hours.

Prior to that, it became known that for the first time US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited a settlement in the West Bank of Jordan. He also plans to go to the Golan Heights for the first time.

As previously reported, Palestine will resume relations with Israel. In turn, Israel announced the need for reconciliation with Palestine and pointed to many prospects for cooperation in various fields.