Economy

Amazon's Jeff Bezos accuses National Enquirer publisher of blackmail

Amazon's Jeff Bezos accuses National Enquirer publisher of blackmail

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.

Mr Bezos' online post details a stunning and weird clash between the world's richest man and the nation's biggest tabloid publisher.

It comes after the tabloid last month reported Bezos was in a relationship with former news anchor and entertainment reporter Lauren Sanchez - having accessed private text messages.

A Washington Post reporter dropped a bombshell Thursday night: that investigators working for Jeff Bezos believe "a government entity" may have obtained his text messages, and rather than a phone hack, that this is how the National Enquirer got them.

On Jan. 31, de Becker was quoted in the Daily Beast suggesting that the Enquirer's pursuit of Bezos was politically motivated.

Bezos said the statement AMI was proposing was false and described the offer as an "extortionate proposal".

Ronan Farrow says he's also been threatened by the National Enquirer following, Jeff Bezos' bombshell allegation that the tabloid tried to blackmail him with nude selfies.

AMI did not immediately respond to a request for comment. "If in my position I cannot stand up to this kind of extortion, how many people can?"

Early in the blog post, Mr Bezos mentions AMI's links to President Donald Trump. Mr. Cohen pleaded guilty to several federal crimes and admitted that he had made a deal, on Mr. Trump's behalf, in which the Enquirer helped Mr. Trump's presidential bid by paying $150,000 to former Playboy playmate Karen McDougal to buy and bury her story.

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The alleged emails show the outlet threatening to release a series of texts and photos he sent to his current girlfriend Lauren Sanchez while still married to MacKenzie Bezos.

According to the New York Times, Trump and Pecker dined together to celebrate him winning the presidency.

In its January 9 story, the Enquirer said reporters followed Bezos and Sanchez "across five states and 40,000 miles" and "tailed them in private jets, swanky limos, helicopter rides, romantic hikes, five-star hotel hideaways, intimate dinner dates and "quality time" in hidden love nests".

However, Bezos said that "rather than capitulate to extortion and blackmail, I've made a decision to publish exactly what they sent me, despite the personal cost and embarrassment they threaten".

Pecker is now cooperating with federal investigators who are looking into the company's involvement with the Trump campaign.

In his post, Bezos explained why he is speaking out against the Enquirer and American Media.

In addition, he included emails from AMI's deputy general counsel, Jon Fine, detailing a list of terms under which AMI said it would withhold publication of the photos.

This whole story, as Bezos would put it, is complexifying my brain. Here is an excerpt of one e-mail from American Media Inc chief content officer Dylan Howard to Martin Singer, the lawyer of Bezos' longtime private security consultant Gavin de Becker. That's one of the dangers to democracy of what they were engaged in when they were catching and killing information they could have used against Candidate Trump and now President Trump. Or at least that's what the top people at the National Enquirer thought.

· Mr. Bezos face selfie at what appears to be a business meeting.