Prosecutors to quiz Amazon chief Jeff Bezos on Saudi claim

Jeff Bezos

Enlarge Image Jeff Bezos Getty Images

Federal prosecutors in NY are planning to meet with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos about his allegations that the National Enquirer tried to blackmail him with help from Saudi Arabia, a person familiar with the plans said Thursday.

The tabloid's parent company has had business dealings with Saudi Arabia.

Last year, AMI cooperated with federal prosecutors to avoid charges and admitted it made a $150,000 hush-money payment to a former Playboy magazine model to prevent her from going public ahead of the 2016 election with claims that she had an affair with Trump.

Schwartz didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. Target Corp. said last week it would raise the minimum hourly wage by a dollar in June to $13 per hour, the third pay hike in less than two years.

The Bezos attack also threatened to upend American Media's non-prosecution agreement with federal prosecutors.

In a statement, AMI said that a "decision has been taken to explore strategic options for its National Enquirer (US and United Kingdom editions), Globe and National Examiner brands which will result in their sale in the near future".

De Becker didn't describe what evidence he had backing his assertion that Saudi Arabia got access to Bezos' phone, saying he couldn't disclose specifics of the investigation "to respect officials pursuing this case". The Associated Press reported in February that prosecutors were looking into whether the publisher violated terms of the deal, which included a promise not to break any laws in the future. "As of today, it is unclear to what degree, if any, AMI was aware of the details", de Becker wrote in The Daily Beast.

AMI has defended its reporting on Bezos' affair with Lauren Sanchez, a former television anchor.

More recently, the National Enquirer has been embroiled in a battle with Bezos, the CEO of Amazon.com Inc and also the owner of the Washington Post.

In an open letter to the Amazon leadership, which was signed by 4,074 Amazon workers, they said Amazon has the resources and scale to fight climate change, which they called "an existential threat". He said Amazon is willing to continue to take risks and learn from its failures, while simultaneously supporting successful areas of its business like its third-party sellers and retail locations.

The sale, if it does happen, would likely not be welcomed by president Trump, a friend of AMI CEO David Pecker and a big fan of the supermarket staple.

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