- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 10, 2019

Saudi Arabia is denying any role in recent leaks of personal text messages and photographs of Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos to American Media Incorporated, which threatened to publish the damaging materials in the National Inquirer.

Top officials in Riyadh had “absolutely nothing to do” with gaining access and releasing Mr. Bezos‘ personal information, Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir said Sunday.

“This sounds to me like a soap opera,” Mr. Al-Jubeir said in an interview on CBS’ Face The Nation, regarding the ongoing fiasco involving the Mr. Bezos. “Maybe some of our citizens read The National Enquirer then they’re in the United States … but that’s it,” he added.

The text messages and photographs — reportedly including nude images of the Amazon.com magnate — were exchanged between Mr. Bezos and former TV anchor Lauren Sanchez, with whom he was having an extramarital affair. Mr. Bezos claims American Media Incorporated, or AMI, and the company’s president, David Pecker, threatened to publish the texts and photographs in the National Enquirer, a tabloid owned by AMI.

On social media, Mr. Bezos suggested the Saudi government may be behind the hack of his personal information.

Mr. Bezos, who also owns The Washington Post, also suggested Riyadh used its connections with Mr. Pecker and AMI in an attempt to blackmail him in retribution for The Washington Post’s coverage of Riyadh’s role in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Khashoggi, a Post columnist and well-known critic of the Saudi regime, was killed at the Saudi consulate in Turkey in October on the orders of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. His body was reportedly dismembered and disposed of by Saudi security and intelligence officials in Turkey.

On Sunday, Mr. al-Juebir denied the allegations, saying the issue was strictly between Mr. Bezos, Mr. Pecker and AMI. “This is something between the two parties. We have nothing to do with it.”

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