Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' phone hacked by Saudis, investigator says

The results of an investigation have been turned over to authorities.

CNET News staff
2 min read

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos

Jim Watson/ AFP/Getty Images

Saudi Arabia hacked into Jeff Bezos's phone and took private information, according to an investigator hired by the Amazon boss.

Gavin de Becker, who Bezos hired to investigate how private messages about a personal relationship were leaked to a tabloid, suggested in a Saturday post at The Daily Beast that the hack was linked to the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi reporter who wrote for The Washington Post. Bezos owns The Post. 

"Our investigators and several experts concluded with high confidence that the Saudis had access to Bezos' phone, and gained private information," de Becker wrote. He said he had provided US authorities with his findings. 

The Saudi embassy in Washington didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

The allegations come roughly two months after Bezos accused American Media Inc., which owns The National Enquirer, of attempted extortion. In a lengthy Medium post, Bezos said AMI had threatened to publish intimate photos of him and Lauren Sanchez, an actress, unless he said the publisher wasn't "politically motivated or influenced by political forces." 

A month earlier, Bezos revealed that he and MacKenzie Bezos, his wife of 25 years, would be divorcing. His announcement came hours before The National Enquirer published a series of flirty texts between Bezos and Sanchez.

In his post, de Becker said it was unclear how much, if anything, AMI knew about the alleged Saudi hack.

In a statement, an American Media spokesperson called de Becker's claims "false and unsubstantiated," adding that Michael Sanchez, Lauren's brother, was the company's "single source" of information on the relationship. "There was no involvement by any other third party whatsoever."

CNET couldn't immediately reach Michael Sanchez for comment.

AMI has previously said it would investigate the claims Bezos made in his Medium post.

Originally published March 31, 9:59 a.m. PT.
Updates, 10:30 a.m. PT
: Adds AMI comment.