Saudi Arabia dismisses latest Bezos allegations

“Recent media reports that suggest the Kingdom is behind a hacking of Mr Jeff Bezos’ phone are absurd,” Saudi Arabia's embassy in the US said in a message.
Wednesday 22/01/2020
Jeff Bezos, founder of Blue Origin and CEO of Amazon, speaks about the future plans of Blue Origin during an address to attendees at Access Intelligence's SATELLITE 2017 conference in Washington, U.S., March 7. (Reuters)
Jeff Bezos, founder of Blue Origin and CEO of Amazon, speaks about the future plans of Blue Origin during an address to attendees at Access Intelligence's SATELLITE 2017 conference in Washington, U.S., March 7. (Reuters)

LONDON - Saudi Arabia has dismissed allegations that it was behind the hacking of Amazon Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos’s smartphone, describing the latest reports as “absurd.”

“Recent media reports that suggest the Kingdom is behind a hacking of Mr Jeff Bezos’ phone are absurd,” Saudi Arabia's embassy in the US said in a message on its official Twitter feed.

“We call for an investigation on these claims so that we can have all the facts out.”

According to a report in the UK’s Guardian newspaper, Bezos’s phone was hacked after he allegedly received a WhatsApp message from Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz. 

In January 2019, the National Inquirer published intimate texts between Bezos and his mistress. Bezos and US media organisations, including The Washington Post, The Daily Beast and CNN, pushed the theory that the Saudi government was involved in leaking the texts.

Bezos, who acquired the Washington Post in 2013, wrote in a blog post that he believed he was targeted because of the Post’s coverage of the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul in October 2018.

Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir rejected claims that the kingdom was involved in the Bezos scandal in any capacity.

Speaking on CBS's "Face the Nation," Jubeir said the kingdom had "nothing to do with" the episode.

"This sounds to me like a soap opera," he added. "I've been watching it on television and reading about it in the paper. This is something between the two parties. We have nothing to do with it."

A Wall Street Journal report in March 2019 found that Bezos's leaked texts had been acquired by the National Inquirer through another source. According to the report, the tabloid received Bezos's personal photographs and messages after paying his mistresses' brother $200,000.  

“Amazon.com Inc. founder Jeff Bezos and his allies have publicly speculated about how the National Enquirer acquired racy texts he sent to his girlfriend, including at one point hinting Saudi Arabia or the White House may have been involved.” The Wall Street Journal reported.

“The reality is simpler: Michael Sanchez, the brother of Mr. Bezos' lover, sold the billionaire's secrets for $200,000 to the Enquirer's publisher, said people familiar with the matter.”