Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' phone hacked by Saudis, says sleuth

Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos' phone was hacked to access his personal data, says an investigator.
Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos' phone was hacked to access his personal data, says an investigator.

WASHINGTON (AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE) - The investigator hired to look into the release of intimate images of billionaire Jeff Bezos has concluded that Saudi Arabian authorities hacked the Amazon chief's phone to access his personal data.

Mr Gavin de Becker last Saturday linked the hack to extensive coverage by The Washington Post newspaper, which is owned by Mr Bezos, of the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul last year.

Mr de Becker wrote on The Daily Beast website: "Our investigators and several experts concluded with high confidence that the Saudis had access to Bezos' phone, and gained private information."

He said that while the brother of Mr Bezos' mistress was paid by the National Enquirer scandal sheet for the release of the information, his role may have been a red herring, and the plot went far beyond one man seeking to cash in.

"It's clear that MBS considers The Washington Post to be a major enemy," Mr de Becker wrote, referring to the kingdom's powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whom the US Senate - after a closed-door briefing by the Central Intelligence Agency - named responsible for the murder.

But Mr de Becker did not specify which part of the Saudi government he was blaming for the hack, and gave few details about the investigation that led him to the conclusion that the kingdom was responsible.

The results, he wrote, "have been turned over to federal officials".

 

Mr Bezos hired Gavin de Becker & Associates to find out how his intimate text messages and photos made their way into the hands of the Enquirer, which reported on the Amazon chief's extramarital affair, leading to his divorce.

Mr Bezos has accused Enquirer publisher American Media, led by Mr David Pecker, of blackmail for threatening to publish the photos if he did not halt the investigation.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 01, 2019, with the headline 'Bezos' phone hacked by Saudis, says sleuth'. Print Edition | Subscribe