Published: Fri, February 08, 2019
Finance | By Jaime Brady

Amazon's Bezos says National Enquirer tried to blackmail him over 'intimate photos'

Amazon's Bezos says National Enquirer tried to blackmail him over 'intimate photos'

Amazon founder and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos accused National Enquirer's parent company of trying to blackmail him with lewd photos of him and his mistress Thursday evening.

Bezos says he's posting this "despite the personal cost and embarrassment they threaten", because of the nature of the blackmail threatened against him.

The magazine, owned by American Media Inc., published an expose on Bezos's relationship with former TV anchor Lauren Sanchez, and Bezos has hired investigators to find out if the story was politically motivated.

In a Medium post published on Thursday, Bezos refers to statements Amazon's personal security consultant Gavin de Becker made to the press stating that "strong leads point to political motives" in the releasing of Bezos' texts to the Enquirer.

According to the e-mails, an attorney for AMI offered a formal deal Wednesday: The tabloid wouldn't post the photos if Mr. Bezos and his investigators would release a public statement "affirming that they have no knowledge or basis" to suggest the Enquirer's coverage was "politically motivated or influenced by political forces".

In another email dated February 6, Fine asked Bezos and his attorney to publicly refute the Post's reporting and announce "that they have no knowledge of basis for suggesting that American Media Inc.'s coverage was politically motivated of influencer by political forces, and an agreement that they will cease referring to such a possibility". "AMI's claim of newsworthiness is that the photos are necessary to show Amazon shareholders that my business judgment is bad".

In addition to founding the world's largest e-commerce site, Bezos, is also the owner and benefactor of The Washington Post.

In its January 9 story, the Enquirer reported that Mr. Bezos sent "sleazy text messages and gushing love notes" to Ms. Sanchez, months before Mr. Bezos announced he was splitting up with his wife, MacKenzie.

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Bezos, one of the wealthiest people on the planet, published what appeared to be emails from attorneys representing American Media, Inc. Years before Trump ascended to the White House, Melchiorre threw a financial lifeline to Pecker's company and ended up with about an 80 percent stake.

Mr Bezos notes in his blog post how the publisher confessed to the so-called "catch and kill" deal to bury Karen McDougal's politically embarrassing story.

Bezos mentions Trump in his post, by the way.

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.

"Any personal embarrassment AMI could cause me takes a back seat because there is a much more important matter involved here", Bezos said. In 2015, Bezos offered to blast Trump into space, but has mostly avoided mentioning Trump publicly - until Thursday.

Bezos usually stays out of the public eye, frequently delegating announcements and public Amazon business updates to his executives.

Other photos described in the email include half-dressed selfies of Bezos in a variety of situations, and photos of his new partner Lauren Sanchez that Howard described as "revealing her cleavage".

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