Billionaire divorce. Supermarket tabloid. Extortion claim - Jeff Bezos and the National Enquirer

Billionaire divorce. Supermarket tabloid. Extortion claim - Jeff Bezos and the National Enquirer

Billionaire divorce. Supermarket tabloid. Extortion claim - Jeff Bezos and the National Enquirer

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos on Thursday accused the owner of the United States newspaper National Enquirer of blackmailing him with threats of publishing "intimate photos" he sent to his mistress if he did not publicly announce that the tabloid's reporting on him was not politically motivated.

In a post on the online platform Medium, Bezos said that the Enquirer's parent company, American Media Inc (AMI), threatened to publish images of his extramarital affair with former TV anchor Lauren Sanchez, unless he dropped an investigation into how the tabloid obtained the messages.

"Gavin de Becker told us that he does not believe that Jeff Bezos' phone was hacked, he thinks it's possible that a government entity might have gotten hold of his text messages", without clarifying whether the investigators believe it was a domestic or foreign entity.

The billionaire, who also owns the liberal Washington Post newspaper, said AMI had wanted him to make a "false public statement" that the National Enquirer's coverage of him and his mistress was not politically motivated.

Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO and David Pecker, Chairman and CEO of American Media, the company behind the National Enquirer.

Mr Bezos said his ownership of the Washington Post was a "complexifier" for him because he had made enemies of "certain powerful people", including President Donald Trump, who is a friend of AMI's boss David Pecker.

Enquirer owner American Media Inc. said Friday that its board of directors ordered a prompt and thorough investigation and will take "whatever appropriate action is necessary".

Mr Bezos has been the target of criticism from U.S. president Donald Trump over the Post's critical coverage of the White House, and AMI has admitted that it engaged in what is known as "catch-and-kill" practices to help Trump become president.

Bezos, Fine, and de Becker were not immediately available for comment. "If in my position I can't stand up to this kind of extortion, how many people can?"

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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.

"Of course I don't want personal photos published, but I also won't participate in their well-known practice of blackmail, political favors, political attacks, and corruption", Bezos said in explaining his decision to go public.

President Trump tweets a shot at the Amazon CEO. The Enquirer says a lawyer for Bezos told the publication that it was "widely known" that Bezos and his wife had been "long separated".

The intimate photos at issue include a "below the belt selfie" of Bezos and several revealing photos of Sanchez, according to emails Bezos released of his exchanges with AMI.

Jeff Bezos's clash with the National Enquirer, including a fight to prevent compromising photos from being published, is putting the supermarket tabloid and its financial backers back under scrutiny.

A judge confirmed in a court filing on Thursday that federal prosecutors in NY were still investigating campaign finance crimes committed when Cohen paid two women to stay silent about alleged affairs with Trump before he became president.

Bezos retained Gavin de Becker to investigate the revelation of his affair.

The Associated Press has also confirmed Bloomberg's report. He did, however, post something after the initial National Enquirer story posted last month, calling Bezos "Jeff Bozo" and arguing that the tabloid was a more accurate source of news than the Washington Post.

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