- Jeff Bezos’ phone was hacked in 2018 after receiving a WhatsApp message from Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, according to an explosive new report from The Guardian, which cited multiple sources familiar with the investigation.
- Bezos reportedly had a friendly text exchange with the crown prince, who later sent a video file thought to have compromised Bezos’ phone when opened.
- “Large amounts of data” were extracted from Bezos’ phone in a matter of hours, according to the report, but it’s unclear what information was compromised.
- The report suggests Saudi officials may have gained private information about Bezos before The National Enquirer published a story about his extramarital relationship last January.
- The Saudi government called The Guardian’s report “absurd.” Bezos’ lawyer declined to comment.
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Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is believed to have been hacked by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in 2018, according to a new bombshell report from The Guardian’s Stephanie Kirchgaessner.
Citing unnamed sources with knowledge of an international investigation into the hacking, the Guardian report indicates that Bezos’ phone appeared to be infiltrated after he opened a video file sent from the crown prince’s number on WhatsApp.
The two men had reportedly exchanged friendly messages on WhatsApp on May 1, 2018, after which an unsolicited video file was sent from Crown Prince Mohammed’s account. After Bezos opened the file, data was rapidly extracted from his personal phone, according to the report.
The Saudi government called The Guardian’s report “absurd” in a tweetTuesday night, calling for “an investigation on these claims so that we can have all the facts out.”
Bezos’ attorney told The Guardian that Bezos was “cooperating with investigations” but declined to comment further.
Representatives for Bezos and the Saudi government did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment. A WhatsApp representative declined to comment.
Bezos’ team began investigating his phone last January after The National Enquirer published a story exposing his extramarital affair. Following the publication of that story, Bezos wrote a Medium post accusing The National Enquirer’s parent company, American Media Inc., of blackmailing him by threatening to publish nude images of him.
“Of course I don’t want personal photos published, but I also won’t participate in their well-known practice of blackmail,” Bezos wrote at the time.
The company has denied blackmailing Bezos and has said its reporters were informed about Bezos’s affair by the estranged brother of his girlfriend.
But Bezos’ head of security, Gavin de Becker, said in March that an internal investigation revealed Saudis “had access to Bezos’ phone and gained private information.” David Pecker, the CEO of AMI, reportedly had a close relationship with Crown Prince Mohammed in the months leading up to The National Enquirer’s story.
Both Saudi Arabia and AMI previously denied that Saudi officials were involved in The Enquirer’s publication of the story on Bezos.
As pointed out by The Guardian, Bezos could have been a target for a Saudi hack because of his ownership of The Washington Post, which has run coverage critical of the kingdom. The Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi was assassinated by Saudi agents in October 2018. The CIA determined that the crown prince ordered the killing.
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