The Saudi government hacked into Jeff Bezos’ phone and accessed private information, according to new details shared by the Amazon CEO’s security consultant.
Gavin de Becker, who works as an investigator for Bezos, made the assertion in an opinion piece Saturday in The Daily Beast. It’s the latest twist in the ongoing saga over The National Enquirer’s reporting into the relationship between Bezos and Lauren Sanchez, a former TV anchor turned helicopter pilot.
The Enquirer published text messages sent between Bezos and Sanchez, two days after the Amazon CEO announced in January that he and his wife, MacKenzie Bezos, decided to divorce after 25 years of marriage.
On Feb. 7, Bezos published a post on Medium in which the Amazon founder accused the Enquirer and its owner American Media Inc. of extortion. He said AMI had threatened to publish a number of explicit photos of Bezos if he didn’t call off the private investigation led by de Becker and say publicly that AMI’s coverage was not politically motivated.
In today’s post, de Becker reveals that “our investigators and several experts concluded with high confidence that the Saudis had access to Bezos’ phone, and gained private information. As of today, it is unclear to what degree, if any, AMI was aware of the details.”
The Daily Beast previously reported that the Saudis were targeting Bezos, who also owns The Washington Post. This past October, Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered at a Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
“Some Americans will be surprised to learn that the Saudi government has been very intent on harming Jeff Bezos since last October, when the Post began its relentless coverage of Khashoggi’s murder,” de Becker wrote in his post.
De Becker also called out the “well-documented and close relationship” between Saudi Arabia and AMI chairman David Pecker. His investigation is now in the hands of federal officials.
Meanwhile, Michael Sanchez, the brother of Lauren Sanchez, who has been accused of sending private messages to the Enquirer, did an interview with The New York Post that also published on Saturday.
We’ve reached out to Amazon for comment and will update this post if we hear back.