Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos Accuses 'National Enquirer' Of Extortion Over Personal Photos

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos Accuses 'National Enquirer' Of Extortion Over Personal Photos

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos Accuses 'National Enquirer' Of Extortion Over Personal Photos

Bezos, Amazon.com Inc.'s chief executive officer, accused National Enquirer publisher American Media Inc of seeking to blackmail him with texts and photos, including a "below the belt selfie".

The dispute between the billionaire and the media organization is in regards to personal text messages the outlet obtained and published last month between Bezos and the woman he is now seeing, 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.

American Media Inc (AMI), the National Enquirer's parent company, also says it believes it acted lawfully in its reporting on the world's richest man.

Reporters for the Enquirer followed Mr Bezos and Ms Sanchez "across five states and 40,000 miles" and "tailed them in private jets, swanky limos, helicopter rides, romantic hikes, five-star hotel hideaways, intimate dinner dates and "quality time" in hidden love nests", the tabloid said in its story. "Upon completion of that investigation, the Board will take whatever appropriate action is necessary", it added.

De Becker, in an interview with The Washington Post published February 5, said the leak appeared meant to embarrass Bezos, owner of the Post and a frequent target of Trump's criticism.

This latest standoff began last month when Mr Bezos unexpectedly announced a divorce from his wife, MacKenzie Bezos, vowing to "continue our shared lives as friends".

AMI didn't immediately respond to HuffPost's request for comment, and hasn't issued any statement on the allegations of Bezos or Farrow.

"When I see allegations like that, the first question I have is, did they reach out to the DOJ, did they ask for an investigation from any US government entity before they made their public claims", Eddington added. In a blockbuster blog post titled "No thank you, Mr. Pecker", Bezos on Thursday evening accused Pecker of an "extortion and blackmail" attempt.

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The deal not to prosecute was conditional on AMI not committing any crime.

"Rather than capitulate to extortion and blackmail, I´ve made a decision to publish exactly what they sent me, despite the personal cost and embarrassment they threaten", Bezos wrote. "President Trump is one of those people, obvious by his many tweets".

The accusations of blackmail could complicate a related legal matter involving the National Enquirer's actions during the 2016 U.S. elections.

Bezos, in his post, also raised what he called AMI's links to Saudi Arabia.

And here is what the president wrote on Twitter after National Enquirer published Bezos's texts to Sanchez last month, calling the Amazon founder "Bozo". Prosecutors at the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of NY already picked Pecker's brain and his organization's records for anything they could use in their case against Cohen, which was apparently enough to get him off with a warning. In a blog post on the site Medium, Bezos suggests the leak of his text messages might be connected to his ownership of the Post.

Federal prosecutors in NY are probing whether the National Enquirer's parent company violated a cooperation agreement in its handling of the story regarding Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

The Associated Press confirmed the story.

Laurie Levenson, a former federal prosecutor and professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, said the allegations potentially put prosecutors in an awkward position because of the deal they had already cut with AMI.

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