Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ cell phone was allegedly hacked through the mobile application, WhatsApp after a personal conversation with Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammad bin Salman. The pair seemed friendly in the past and have reportedly always had pleasant interactions, including on a personal level through WhatsApp messaging. The message that contained evidence of technological information capable of compromising Bezos’ phone was a video sent back in 2018. Allegedly, quite a bit of information was taken from the cell phone in only a few hours.
This is not the first time that information from Bezos’ cell phone has been leaked. Bloomberg reports that in January 2019 “The National Enquirer subsequently disclosed an extramarital affair between Bezos and Lauren Sanchez, a former television anchor, in a series of reports that relied, in part, on intimate text messages sent by Bezos” after Bezos’ divorce.The Enquirer likely also has a business relationship with the Saudis. David Pecker, CEO of American Media, owner of The National Enquirer, has apparently been developing a closer relationship with bin Salman.
Bezos also happens to own The Washington Post. Jamal Khashoggi, a WAPO journalist who was killed in October 2018, was a tough critic of the Saudi regime. Bloomberg reports that this is “why bin Salman might seek to harm the Amazon founder.” The Washington Post also reported that the CIA linked bin Salman to Khashoggi’s death. Through its own investigation, the United Nations found “credible evidence Saudi Arabia is responsible for the premeditated murder of Jamal Khashoggi” as reported by The Guardian. In December 2018, a Saudi trial found eight people guilty of Khashoggi’s murder.
On Jan. 21, the American Saudi embassy tweeted, “Recent media reports that suggest the Kingdom is behind a hacking of Mr. Jeff Bezos’ phone are absurd. We call for an investigation on these claims so that we can have all the facts out.” The Guardian also reported that “Saudi Arabia has previously denied it targeted Bezos’s phone, and has insisted the murder of Khashoggi was the result of a “rogue operation”.
As of right now, it is unclear exactly what information was obtained, but Bezos’ representatives on both legal and professional fronts have only said that the billionaire Amazon CEO was complying with authorities in the investigation.