The man at the centre of the Bezos blackmail storm

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and his wife MacKenzie (right), who is divorcing him. Mr Bezos published e-mails on Thursday that appear to show the National Enquirer threatening to publish intimate photos unless he ends Mr Gavin de Becker's probe into how
Described by Mr Jeff Bezos as "one of the smartest and most capable leaders I know", Mr Gavin de Becker (above) emerged from a violent childhood to essentially create a new industry of threat prediction.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Gavin de Becker has studied thousands of threatening letters. Now the 'protector of celebs' has stepped into the spotlight of Bezos' claims against a tabloid

For decades, inside an unremarkable warehouse outside Los Angeles, one man gathered among the most remarkable collections in America: hundreds of thousands of letters, all of them worrisome. Some promised terrible violence. Others merely hinted at calamity. Some even included off-putting gifts like syringes of bodily fluid, animal corpses, and hair.

They were all carefully saved and catalogued by Mr Gavin de Becker, arguably the world's foremost expert on threatening messages.


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on February 10, 2019, with the headline 'The man at the centre of the Bezos blackmail storm'. Print Edition | Subscribe