The world's richest man, Jeff Bezos, has accused the owner of a USA gossip magazine of trying to blackmail him by publishing "intimate photos" he sent to his girlfriend.
Federal prosecutors in the Southern District of NY are reviewing the conduct of the National Enquirer and its parent company, American Media, Inc., after Amazon founder Jeff Bezos alleged Thursday that the tabloid attempted to blackmail and extort him by threatening to publish his nude selfies, according to Bloomberg.
Earlier Friday, AMI said it "acted lawfully" while reporting the story and that it engaged in "good faith negotiations" with Bezos. When Bezos began to investigate how the National Enquirer came to obtain those messages, he said American Media threatened to release intimate photos of him and Sanchez unless he put a stop to the probe.
Bezos, however, made a decision to publish the correspondence rather than give in to those demands.
In his blog post, Bezos said he chose to publish the emails sent to his team "rather than capitulate to extortion and blackmail", despite the "personal cost and embarrassment they threaten". Do you see how much I like writing "Pecker"?
In addition to founding the world's largest e-commerce site, Bezos, is also the owner and benefactor of The Washington Post.
Law&Crime dug into this at length after the news broke on Thursday evening, exploring what-if any-crime AMI, the parent company of the National Enquirer, might have committed.
The story recounted by Bezos - the world´s richest man - touches on political intrigue, sexual indiscretion, the murder of a Saudi journalist and bitter charges of media bias.
"President Trump is one of those people, obvious by his many tweets".
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Bezos has publicly criticized the Trump administration on numerous occasions, as has the Washington Post.
Mr Bezos said the statement AMI was proposing was false and described the offer as an "extortionate proposal".
One question I have long had is whether investigators looking at the Russian element in the election of Trump are not unduly downplaying a United Arab Emirates and Saudi angle. While his lawyers argued that AMI had no right to publish the photos since Bezos himself holds the rights over themand that they were not newsworthy, AMI claimed the newsworthiness was that the photos would show the shareholders of Amazon that Bezos had awful business judgment. The law defines extortion as, among other things, obtaining something of value through fear, and AMI's very explicit threat to publish the embarrassing pictures unless Bezos complies, fits that description, according to Elsea.
And here is what the president wrote on Twitter after National Enquirer published Bezos's texts to Sanchez last month, calling the Amazon founder "Bozo".
This is the same Dylan Howard who sent Bezos an email detailing the comprising photos AMI claimed to have in their possession. Afterwards, Bezos says he hired investigator Gavin de Becker to look into how the publication got a hold of their private communications.
AMI's financial backer, hedge fund manager Anthony Melchiorre, also has rubbed shoulders with the president, including a White House dinner in July 2017.
The paper could presumably publish the pics on fair-use grounds notwithstanding Bezos's copyright claim to them, citing the public interest in his judgment as head of Amazon or whatever. "It's unavoidable that certain powerful people who experience Washington Post news coverage will wrongly conclude I am their enemy", Mr Bezos wrote in the blog post.
"Several days ago, an AMI leader advised us that Mr. Pecker is "apoplectic" about our investigation", Bezos said.
On Thursday, Bezos noted that Pecker is cooperating with federal prosecutors who are investigating "catch-and-kill" payments the Enquirer made ahead of the 2016 presidential election to at least one woman who alleged she had an affair with Trump.