WASHINGTON (AFP) - The National Enquirer bought revealing messages between Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and his then-secret girlfriend for US$200,000 (S$270,300) from her brother, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported on Monday (March 18).
The Enquirer accessed the text messages, and in January reported that Mr Bezos had an extramarital affair with former news anchor and entertainment reporter Lauren Sanchez - a leak that led to his divorce.
In February, Mr Bezos accused the tabloid's publisher American Media Inc - led by Mr David Pecker, who has been described as a close friend of Bezos critic President Donald Trump - of trying to blackmail him over lurid photos.
The WSJ reported that Mr Michael Sanchez sold the text messages, citing people familiar with the matter.
Mr Sanchez told the newspaper he did not want to "dignify" the reporting on the deal and called it "old rumours", it reported.
Security consultant Gavin de Becker, who was investigating the leak for Mr Bezos, previously told The Daily Beast that "strong leads point to political motives" - and that he was interested in Mr Sanchez, a vocal supporter of Mr Trump with links to his inner circle, as a possible perpetrator.
Mr Bezos, the world's richest person, owns The Washington Post, a frequent target of Mr Trump as he assails the US media as "enemy of the people" and a source of fake news. The billionaire, his newspaper and Amazon are all regular targets of the president on Twitter.