Jeff Bezos is reportedly investigating whether Donald Trump had a hand in leaking his salacious private text messages to a US tabloid, ending his marriage of 25 years.
The Amazon founder’s personal security team are “increasingly convinced” that “political motives” were behind the embarrassing disclosure of messages to girlfriend Lauren Sanchez, according The Daily Beast.
Mr Bezos has come under attack from Mr Trump due to his ownership of The Washington Post, an anti-Trump newspaper frequently accused by the US President of peddling “fake news”.
“So sorry to hear the news about Jeff Bozo being taken down by a competitor whose reporting, I understand, is far more accurate than the reporting in his lobbyist newspaper, the Amazon Washington Post,” Mr Trump tweeted last month. “Hopefully the paper will soon be placed in better & more responsible hands!”
The National Enquirer, which has a long and chequered past with Mr Trump, early last month published a “blockbuster four-month investigation” revealing the world’s richest man was having an affair with the married TV personality.
EXCLUSIVE: In an 11-page world exclusive special report, The Enquirer exposes WHAT REALLY tore apart Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and his wife after 25 years. On newsstands THURSDAY. pic.twitter.com/mXhrAFnF2k
— National Enquirer (@NatEnquirer) January 9, 2019
— Jeff Bezos (@JeffBezos) January 9, 2019
So sorry to hear the news about Jeff Bozo being taken down by a competitor whose reporting, I understand, is far more accurate than the reporting in his lobbyist newspaper, the Amazon Washington Post. Hopefully the paper will soon be placed in better & more responsible hands!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 14, 2019
Mr Bezos and wife MacKenzie announced their divorce on Twitter shortly before the publication of the Enquirer ’s first story. The tabloid followed up by revealing details of Mr Bezos’ text messages to his lover.
“I love you, alive girl,” one message published by the paper read. “I will show you with my body, and my lips and my eyes, very soon.” Another said, “I want to smell you, I want to breathe you in. I want to hold you tight. I want to kiss your lips. I love you. I am in love with you.”
The blockbuster divorce announcement made headlines around the world, not least because the split positions Mrs Bezos to become the world’s wealthiest woman if she takes half of her husband’s $US137 billion fortune.
The Mirror earlier reported Ms Sanchez had shared the messages with a friend to boast about her new relationship. The friend then supposedly tipped off the Enquirer, whose journalists trailed the pair around the country for the last half of 2018.
The UK tabloid quoted sources close to the Amazon boss who said he was furious Ms Sanchez had been “so careless” to share details of their private conversations with friends and that he was “hugely embarrassed”.
But The Daily Beast report published on Wednesday appears to contradict that explanation. The site quotes “three people familiar with the probe”, saying investigators looked into Ms Sanchez but had “not uncovered evidence that she was involved”.
Potential hacking of Mr Bezos’ phone was also ruled out, according to the report. The Daily Beast said investigators were now “eyeing individuals with ties to various figures in the president’s orbit, who might have also had access to Bezos’ or Sanchez’s phones”.
The site did not elaborate on that serious allegation, which would suggest some type of illegal domestic spying by the US President on a political opponent using intelligence assets such as the National Security Agency.
Shortly before The Daily Beast’s story was published, former Trump associate Roger Stone — currently facing criminal charges stemming from the Russia probe — took to conspiracy website InfoWars to denythe allegations.
“The Daily Beast is about to publish a story claiming that I, working with President Trump and the NSA, hacked the cell phone of Lauren Sanchez, the paramour of Jeff Bezos, or that we hacked Bezos’ cell phone, and that we gave the information to the National Enquirer,” he said.
He added that the claim was being “pushed by the Amazon PR people”. “No, the Trump administration, the Trump NSA, the Trump intelligence services did not hack Jeff Bezos’ cell phone,” he said.
Amazon has been contacted for comment.