The world’s richest man, Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos, has accused the National Enquirer’s proprietor of attempting to blackmail him over lewd photos.
Mr Bezos stated the journal’s dad or mum firm American Media Inc (AMI) needed him to drop an investigation into the way it obtained his personal messages.
Mr Bezos and his spouse, MacKenzie, stated final month they had been getting divorced.
Their announcement got here simply earlier than the National Enquirer carried reviews concerning the tech titan’s extramarital affair.
AMI has not but responded to the BBC’s request for remark.
What does Bezos declare?
In a surprising weblog publish on Thursday, Mr Bezos posted an e mail he stated had been despatched to his intermediaries by AMI’s representatives threatening to publish “intimate photos” of Mr Bezos and his lover, former TV host Lauren Sanchez.
The billionaire, who additionally owns the Washington Post, stated AMI had needed him to make a “false public statement” that the National Enquirer’s protection of him and his mistress was not politically motivated.
“Rather than capitulate to extortion and blackmail,” wrote Mr Bezos, “I’ve decided to publish exactly what they sent me, despite the personal cost and embarrassment they threaten.”
Early within the weblog publish, Mr Bezos mentions AMI’s hyperlinks to President Donald Trump.
Why does he point out President Trump?
Mr Bezos stated his possession of the Washington Post was a “complexifier” for him as a result of he had made enemies of “certain powerful people”, together with President Donald Trump, who’s a good friend of AMI’s boss David Pecker.
AMI just lately admitted it had co-ordinated with the Trump presidential marketing campaign to pay a Playboy mannequin $150,000 (£115,000) in hush cash to maintain quiet about her alleged affair with Mr Trump.
Mr Bezos notes in his weblog publish how the writer confessed to the so-called “catch and kill” deal to bury Karen McDougal’s politically embarrassing story.
AMI’s settlement to co-operate with federal authorities means it won’t face felony prices over the funds, Manhattan prosecutors introduced in December.
Mr Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen – who facilitated the hush cash on the path, he says, of Mr Trump – has already admitted violating marketing campaign finance legal guidelines.