Jeff Bezos ‘blackmail’ claim puts focus on National Enquirer links to Trump | Technology | The Guardian9 Febbraio 2019
The Amazon CEO has accused the tabloid of threatening to publish nude images of him to stop him investigating acquisition of intimate text messages
A sprawling international scandal involving Jeff Bezos – the owner of Amazon and world’s richest man – and allegations of “extortion and blackmail” by a tabloid publisher threatened on Friday to also engulf Donald Trump as several key questions went unanswered.
Bezos alleges that David Pecker, the owner of the National Enquirer and a longtime friend of the US president, warned him he would publish revealing intimate photos of him unless he stopped investigating how the tabloid obtained text messages exposing his extramarital affair.
Pecker is the chief executive of American Media Inc (AMI), which said on Friday that it “acted lawfully” in its reporting on Bezos and that it would “thoroughly investigate” his claims of blackmail and take “whatever appropriate action is necessary”.
But Pecker is also close to Trump, and AMI has admitted in the past that it engaged in a practice known as “catch-and-kill” – suppressing potentially damaging stories – to help Trump become president. Trump has also waged a running war of words against Bezos, owner of the Washington Post, which he frequently denounces as part of the “fake news media”.
The White House remained silent on the matter but two more threads raised questions about a potential association. In a TV interview, a Post reporter claimed that Bezos’s camp believes the National Enquirer’s conduct might have been politically motivated and that a “government entity” might have got hold of his text messages, though which government might be involved was not indicated.