Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos, accuses USA gossip magazine of blackmail

Jeff Bexos

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos Speaks At Air Force Association Air Space & Cyber Conference. , Bloomberg

Mr Bezos' investigators have suggested the Enquirer's coverage of his affair was politically motivated.

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AMI did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But the company says it engaged in "good faith negotiations".

But as Bezos began to investigate the leak, the tabloid's parent disputed any suggestion that its story was politically motivated.

It has also shown that even for one of the world's most powerful tech titans and the owner of one of the country's most influential newspapers, the best means of communications can be a simple blog post.

In his blog post, Bezos published emails he had been sent by the company, threatening to publish the images.

'I prefer to stand up, roll this log over, and see what crawls out'. It was allegedly using the blackmail attempt to stop Bezos from carrying out an investigation into how it had got access to the text messages. Bezos commissioned de Becker - his longtime security consultant - to investigate how the material fell into the Enquirer's hands.

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Bezos accused the Enquirer and its publisher David Pecker, a Trump ally, of extortion in a bid to end that probe. The people were not authorised to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

An Amazon spokeswoman declined to comment other than to confirm that Bezos wrote the post.

If it's not a crime, Bezos has, it seems, created a new template in how to deal with threats from AMI.

Since the tabloid affair, Bezos opened an investigation into the leak led by Gavin de Becker, a public safety expert and former appointee of U.S. President Ronald Reagan.

However, in the interests of expediating this situation, and with The Washington Post poised to publish unsubstantiated rumors of The National Enquirer's initial report, I wanted to describe to you the photos obtained during our newsgathering. Days later, he claims someone from the Enquirer approached him and threatened him with the lewd photos being released.

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".

Bezos says he was the target of "extortion and blackmail" by American Media.

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The billionaire and his wife announced last month that they were divorcing after 25 years of marriage. The story carries the bylines of Howard and two reporters. He even posted the emails he received from the company to prove it.

In the Medium post, Bezos references Pecker's relationship with Trump. In the next sentence, Bezos describes the non-prosecution agreement struck in September between AMI and the Justice Department. One involves a former Playboy model who said she had an affair with Trump. The company then intentionally suppressed the story until after the 2016 election.

A judge confirmed in a court filing on Thursday that federal prosecutors in NY were still investigating campaign finance crimes committed when Cohen paid two women to stay silent about alleged affairs with Trump before he became president.

This has been the focus of Mr Bezos' private investigators.

American Media is backed by Anthony Melchiorre and his hedge fund, Chatham Asset Management.

In a deal announced with federal prosecutors late a year ago, AMI said it would cooperate with those prosecutors.

A person familiar with the National Enquirer's operation told CNN Business that similar accusations of blackmail might come to light. "They may have to cooperate, but they're continuing in their ongoing battle with Bezos and others".

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