Saudi Arabian crown prince Mohammed bin Salman allegedly texted Jeff Bezos a photo of a woman who resembled his girlfriend Lauren Sanchez in November 2018 with a sexist joke about negotiating with women, months after ‘hacking’ his phone with a WhatsApp video file.
The Saudi crown prince and Bezos exchanged phone numbers at a Hollywood dinner in April 2018.
On May 1, bin Salman reportedly sent him a WhatsApp video file which reportedly contained imagery of a Swedish flag and Saudi Arabian flag draped over one another with Arabic lettering written across them.
That video was the Trojan horse Bezos’ team say hacked the billionaire’s phone. Within hours, a huge dump of data was taken from the device and the hack is now being investigated by the UN.
It happened eight months before Bezos’ affair with Lauren Sanchez – now his girlfriend – was published in a National Enquirer expose which also included lewd photographs and texts from his phone.
But it was not the only message bin Salman sent Bezos.
According to The New York Times on Wednesday morning, in November 2018 – while Bezos and Sanchez were still keeping their relationship quiet and while he was contemplating his divorce from his wife MacKenzie – bin Salman sent him another message.
The message contained a photograph of a woman who closely resembled Sanchez, the Times reports.
Along with it, the prince included a joke: ‘Arguing with a woman is like reading the software license agreement. In the end you have to ignore everything and click I agree.’
It is unclear if Bezos replied.
At the time, the National Enquirer had been trailing him and Lauren and were aware of their romance.
Bezos’ team has suggested in the past that the Saudi government and The Enquirer’s publisher, David Pecker, were in cahoots to take him down – a claim both the Saudis and Pecker vehemently deny.
Saudi Arabian dissident Jamal Khashoggi – a columnist for Bezos’ newspaper, The Washington Post – had also been murdered at the hands of the country’s regime.
After the text with the joke, bin Salman sent Bezos one more WhatsApp message, according to The New York Times. That text was in February last year and was after Bezos’ divorce and affair with Sanchez made global news.
It said: ‘There is nothing against you or Amazon from me or Saudi Arabia.’
Again, it not known if Bezos replied.
Saudi Arabia has called the allegations that it hacked the billionaire’s phone ‘absurd’ and ‘silly’.
American Media Inc, the Enquirer’s publisher, has also denied any wrongdoing in its reporting of the Bezos/Sanchez affair.
Bezos issued strongly worded statements after the story emerged alleging blackmail by AMI to quash the story.
In the end, he and his wife MacKenzie settled their divorce for a record-setting $36billion.
His net worth is now an estimated $115.6 billion.
UN investigators David Kaye, special rapporteur on freedom of expression, said that he and Agnès Callamard, special rapporteur on extrajudicial murders, were preparing a statement due to be released on Wednesday over the ‘very serious hacking allegations’.
‘The alleged hacking of Mr Bezos’s phone, and those of others, demands immediate investigation by US and other relevant authorities,’ UN Special Rapporteurs Agnes Callamard and David Kaye said in a statement.
They are demanding a US investigation into it.
Kaye and Callamard say they are ‘gravely concerned’ about ‘the possible involvement of the crown prince in surveillance of Mr Bezos, in an effort to influence, if not silence, the Washington Post’s reporting on Saudi Arabia.’
They added: ‘The allegations reinforce other reporting pointing to a pattern of targeted surveillance of perceived opponents and those of broader strategic importance to the Saudi authorities, including nationals and non-nationals.
‘These allegations are relevant as well to ongoing evaluation of claims about the crown prince’s involvement in the 2018 murder of Saudi and Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
‘The alleged hacking of Mr Bezos’s phone, and those of others, demands immediate investigation by US and other relevant authorities, including investigation of the continuous, multi-year, direct and personal involvement of the crown prince in efforts to target perceived opponents.’