Mohammed bin Salman

Art for sale: how Saudi Arabia is buying French culture

International — Investigation

Saudi Arabia has forged a major partnership with France to develop the huge site of Al Ula in the north-west of the country, an ancient area which is set to become a major tourist and cultural attraction. An exhibition about Al Ula is running at the Arab World Institute in Paris until March 8th. As Antoine Pecqueur reports, culture is becoming a geopolitical Trojan Horse for the Saudi Kingdom as it seeks to boost its international standing, with France as one of its key partners. Meanwhile French businesses are queuing up to get involved.

Saudi crown prince ends France visit with deals worth 14.5bln euros

International — Link

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman concluded a three-day official vist to France on Tuesday, when a series of draft deals were signed with French companies for petro-chemical, agriciultural, waste treatment, healthcare, tourism and cultural projects worth a total of 14.58 billion euros, which are expected to be finalised during a visit to the Saudi kingdom later this year by President Emmanuel Macron.  

Why detention of billionaire Saudi prince worries the Élysée

France — Investigation

The ultra-wealthy Saudi prince Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal, the owner of the George-V hotel in Paris, remains in detention in Riyad, one of a number of prominent people in the regime who faces claims of corruption. Prince Al-Waleed is an important figure in France and not just because he owns a prestigious hotel here. The billionaire is a key player in a partnership between the French public sector financial institution the Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations (CDC) and a Saudi investment fund. One of his advisers was also a supporter of President Emmanuel Macron's En Marche! party. As Karl Laske reports, this helps explain why the Élysée is keeping a close eye on what happens to the Saudi prince.

Saudi king cuts short controversial holiday in France

France — Link

King Salman left after eight days of planned three-week stay in Riviera villa where officials had sealed off beach for security reasons.

Saudi King builds 'illegal' beach lift for French Riviera holidays

International — Link

The mayor of Vallauris insists lift built to give Saudi Arabia's King Salman access to a fenced-off public beach has no planning permission.