Jeff Bezos Accuses National Enquirer of Blackmail, Extortion

Jeff Bezos Accuses National Enquirer of Blackmail, Extortion

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.

The inquiry has been led by Gavin de Becker, who is the billionaire's long-term head of security. According to Bezos' account, American Media was so troubled by de Becker's probe and his public comments about it - and his conclusion that the Enquirer's coverage was "politically motivated" - that it tried to shut up Bezos and de Becker.

"American Media believes fervently that it acted lawfully in the reporting of the story of Mr Bezos", the company said.

The National Enquirer's owner has pushed back against accusations of "extortion and blackmail" from Amazon boss Jeff Bezos, saying its reporting on an extramarital relationship involving the world's richest man was lawful and it would investigate his claims.

"In light of the nature of the allegations published by Mr. Bezos, the Board has convened and determined that it should promptly and thoroughly investigate 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. Trump himself has criticized Bezos on Twitter over his ownership of The Washington Post and of Amazon. The report appeared days after Bezos and his wife Mackenzie announced their divorce.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

"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 USA government entity before they made their public claims", Eddington added. Bezos wrote, "It's unavoidable that certain powerful people who experience Washington Post news coverage will wrongly conclude I am their enemy".

In September, the Justice Department agreed to a non-prosecution agreement with AMI, which requires the company and some top executives, including Pecker and Howard, to cooperate with authorities.

Bezos said he made a decision to publish the emails sent to his team "rather than capitulate to extortion and blackmail, " despite the "personal cost and embarrassment they threaten".

The supermarket tabloid says it had been investigating Bezos for four months, tracking the Amazon CEO "across five states and 40,000 miles".

The thesis of the article, as revealed in the headline, was a simple and straightforward one: "If AMI's Jeff Bezos Shakedown Was Criminal, They Can Kiss Their Non-Prosecution Agreement Goodbye".

AMI's Dylan Howard, left, sent a letter to Jeff Bezos threatening to publish nude pictures if the Washington Post published claims about the company and its owner David Pecker, right.

Bezos, 55, hired investigators to find out how the texts were obtained and whether the story was politically motivated.

Jeff Bezos pre-empting the National Enquirer by laying bare embarrassing personal details may have been the easier task. But he also threatens to publish the photos if Bezos and his associates breach the agreement.

Bezos' allegations, detailed in a blog post, also highlight a tabloid practice known as "catch-and-kill", in which the gossip sheets use the threat of damaging stories as leverage or to curry favor with a celebrity, Goldberg said. The tabloid says it has evidence that Bezos has been "whisking his mistress off to exotic destinations on his $65 million private jet".

Related Articles