Bezos's stunning blackmail charge intensifies proxy war with Trump

Jeff Bezos

Jeff Bezos

The world's richest man, Jeff Bezos, has said he was the target of "extortion and blackmail" by the United States tabloid, the National Enquirer, alleging it threatened to publish intimate photos he sent to his mistress.

On Thursday, Bezos published several emails that he and his security chief Gavin de Becker received from AMI officials, which he said were created to blackmail him into dropping an investigation he launched into how the National Enquirer got hold of intimate text messages and photos of him and Lauren Sanchez.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' security consultant for two decades, Gavin de Becker, has formed the opinion that the publication of personal details pertaining to Bezos' extra-marital affair by The National Enquirer may have been politically motivated.

The clash between the world's richest man and America's most aggressive supermarket tabloid spilled into public view late Thursday when Bezos accused it of threatening to print photos of Bezos and the woman with whom he was having an extramarital affair.

Earlier Friday, AMI said it "acted lawfully" while reporting the story and that it engaged in "good faith negotiations" with Bezos. Nonetheless, in light of the nature of the allegations published by Mr. Bezos, the Board has convened and determined that it should promptly and thoroughly investigated the claims.

In his Medium post, Bezos wrote that Pecker and AMI are under investigation "for various actions they've taken on behalf of the Saudi Government", noting that the tabloid recently published a special, pro-Saudi propaganda edition.

He said his ownership of the Washington Post was a "complexifier" for him because he had made enemies of "certain powerful people", including President Trump, who is a friend of AMI's boss, David Pecker.

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Bezos and his wife announced last month that they were divorcing after 25 years of marriage.

Representatives for AMI did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment on Bezos' post.

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The agreement with NY prosecutors required AMI to commit no further crimes for at least three years, but the company's alleged threat to Bezos could be interpreted as a breach, potentially opening it to prosecution.

"Of course I don't want personal photos published, but I also won't participate in their well-known practice of blackmail, political favors, political attacks, and corruption", Bezos said.

President Trump tweets a shot at the Amazon CEO.

Bezos accused the National Enquirer publisher of extortion.

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That prompted Bezos to launch an investigation into the Enquirer, and how it was able to obtain such intimate material.

The U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan declined to comment.

Law&Crime dug into this at length after the news broke on Thursday evening, exploring what-if any-crime AMI, the parent company of the National Enquirer, might have committed. They also included his personal text messages and pictures in the report.

In return for such an acknowledgment, according to the email, AMI offered "not to publish, distribute, share, or describe unpublished texts and photos", Mr Bezos said.

AMI has ties to Saudi Arabia, predominately in connection with Trump, as well. Interestingly, Sanchez is now a subject of the investigation being conducted by de Becker.

A judge confirmed in a court filing on Thursday that federal prosecutors in NY were still investigating campaign finance crimes committed when Cohen paid two women to stay silent about alleged affairs with Trump before he became president.

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