SEATTLE — Jeff Bezos’s safety guide accused the Saudi authorities of gaining unauthorized entry to the Amazon chief government’s telephone, as a part of an effort to hurt the world’s richest man.
In an opinion article in The Day by day Beast on Saturday, Gavin de Becker, Mr. Bezos’s safety chief, alleged the Saudis wished to harm Mr. Bezos as a result of he owns The Washington Put up. The Put up has aggressively reported on the homicide of Jamal Khashoggi, one in all its columnists, who was killed final 12 months in Turkey. United States officers have concluded Mr. Khashoggi, who was crucial of Saudi leaders, was killed on the orders of the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman.
Mr. de Becker mentioned he had turned over his findings concerning the Saudis and their function towards Mr. Bezos to regulation enforcement.
“Our investigators and a number of other consultants concluded with excessive confidence that the Saudis had entry to Bezos’ telephone, and gained personal info,” Mr. de Becker wrote.
Mr. de Becker’s claims concerning the Saudis are troublesome to confirm and lift many questions. All through his article, the safety guide was imprecise on particulars. He didn’t reveal direct proof of his accusations and wrote that he wouldn’t converse once more publicly on the problem.
Amazon didn’t instantly have a remark about Mr. Bezos. A spokesman for the Saudi embassy in Washington didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.
Mr. de Becker’s allegations are the most recent twist in a weird scenario that has embroiled the most important U.S. tabloid writer and Mr. Bezos, who runs Amazon and owns The Put up. The weird set of circumstances started in January, when Mr. Bezos introduced that he and his spouse, MacKenzie Bezos, had been divorcing. The subsequent day, The Nationwide Enquirer printed an exposé revealing that Mr. Bezos was romantically concerned with Lauren Sanchez, a former Los Angeles TV anchor.
Then in February, Mr. Bezos printed a submit on Medium accusing the guardian of The Enquirer, American Media Inc., of “extortion and blackmail.” Mr. Bezos mentioned AMI had threatened to publish graphic pictures of him, together with a “below-the-belt selfie,” if he didn’t publicly affirm that The Enquirer’s reporting on his affair was not motivated by political considerations. He mentioned AMI, which has had ties to the Saudis, was “apoplectic” about The Put up’s reporting on the Saudis.
Mr. Bezos added that he had requested Mr. de Becker, his longtime safety guide, to research who had leaked info and pictures about him.
Earlier this month, The New York Occasions reported that two folks with direct data of The Enquirer’s reporting mentioned that all the things the tabloid obtained on Mr. Bezos’s affair, together with the “below-the-belt selfie,” got here from a single supply. The Wall Avenue Journal later reported that AMI had paid Ms. Sanchez’s brother, Michael Sanchez, $200,000 for the texts.
However Mr. de Becker on Saturday mentioned that the trouble towards Mr. Bezos went past Mr. Sanchez and likewise concerned the Saudis. Mr. de Becker pointed to an article printed on Saturday by The New York Put up wherein Mr. Sanchez mentioned The Enquirer “had seen textual content exchanges between the key couple” earlier than he was in contact with the tabloid on the matter.
“Actuality is sophisticated, and might’t all the time be boiled right down to a easy narrative like ‘the brother did it,’” Mr. de Becker wrote.
He didn’t say whether or not the Saudis supplied any of Mr. Bezos’s private info from the telephone to AMI.
“As of as we speak, it’s unclear to what diploma, if any, AMI was conscious of the small print,” Mr. de Becker wrote.
Mr. de Becker mentioned his investigation included interviews with cybersecurity consultants and “individuals who personally know the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.” However he stopped wanting saying what strategies he believed the Saudis might have used to entry Mr. Bezos’s private info.
He added that AMI had wished him to make a public assertion “saying that my investigation had concluded they hadn’t relied upon ‘any type of digital eavesdropping or hacking of their news-gathering course of,’” and that the tabloid’s story was not “instigated, dictated or influenced in any method by exterior forces, political or in any other case.”
Mr. de Becker mentioned he informed AMI in a recorded name that these claims had been “not my reality.”
AMI declined to remark.