Economy

Prosecutors to meet with Bezos in extortion probe | AP business

Prosecutors to meet with Bezos in extortion probe | AP business

Federal prosecutors in NY are planning to meet with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos about his allegations that the National Enquirer tried to blackmail him with help from Saudi Arabia.

The company is said to be in talks with California billionaire investor Ron Burkle, reports The New York Times, though a spokesperson for Burkle's Yucaipa Companies investment firm, stated: "We are not interested in, looking at and have not approached AMI about buying the National Enquirer".

American Media came under fire this year from Amazon founder Bezos for what he said were threats to publish explicit photos of him following a January story on him that included lurid texts exchanged with his mistress, former TV anchor Lauren Sanchez. An AMI spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for further comment.

Pecker's connection with President Trump and his lawyer Michael Cohen landed AMI in a legal tangle previous year.

Attorneys for Bezos, the world's richest man, have been engaged in negotiations regarding his electronics.

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Prosecutors haven't reached a determination concerning the extortion claim, according to a person familiar with the investigation, and they are now working to examine another set of claims - those made last month by Bezos's security consultant, Gavin de Becker. Saudi Arabia's minister of state for foreign affairs said recently that the kingdom had "absolutely nothing to do with" the matter.

When he first aired his allegations against the Enquirer in a blog post, Bezos alluded to a possible relationship between AMI and Saudi Arabia, writing that "the Saudi angle seems to hit a particularly sensitive nerve".

"Our investigators and several experts concluded with high confidence that the Saudis had access to Bezos' phone, and gained private information". That pay hike was not universally praised by all workers, who said the company cut two employee benefits as well: monthly bonuses and the chance to own some of Amazon's sky-rocketing stock.

AMI, Pecker and the National Enquirer have been embroiled in controversies surrounding President Trump.

Amid these developments, Bezos has expanded his legal team, adding attorney Matthew Schwartz, a partner at law firm Boies Schiller Flexner LLP who spent a decade as a federal prosecutor in NY, the people familiar with the matter said.