Bezos last week accused the National Enquirer's parent company and publisher, American Media Inc, AMI, of blackmailing him with threats to publish "intimate photos" he allegedly sent to his girlfriend, including a "below the belt selfie — otherwise colloquially known as a 'd*ck pick.'"
'Soap opera'Bezos turned the tables on the tabloid — which allegedly wanted him to announce that the Enquirer's reporting on him was not politically motivated — by going public with his spat with the newspaper.
Bezos owns TheWashington Post, whose columnist Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul last year. In a blog post, Bezos hinted at Saudi displeasure over his newspaper's coverage of the journalist's murder.
Saudi Arabia's minister of state for foreign affairs, Adel al-Jubeir, denied accusations that Saudi Arabia was involved.
"This is something between the two parties; we have nothing to do with it," al-Jubeir said during an interview with CBS' "Face the Nation" when asked if the Saudi government was involved in the Enquirer leaks.
"It sounds to me like a soap opera," he said in an interview broadcast on Sunday. Jubeir said he was not aware of any links between the Saudi government and AMI or its CEO David Pecker.
Read more: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos accuses National Enquirer newspaper of blackmail
Bezos had also referenced media reports about alleged ties between AMI executives and Saudi Arabia.
Elkan Abromowitz, an attorney for Pecker, said on Sunday that a "reliable source" well-known to Bezos and his mistress provided the story about the billionaire's extramarital affair. Abromowitz said the Enquirer had committed neither extortion nor blackmail by threatening to publish the intimate photos.
kw/rc (AP, AFP, Reuters)
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