Even the richest man in the world can't keep his information private. Jeff Bezos, the billionaire CEO of Amazon, had his phone hacked in May 2018, according to a new report from The Guardian. Anonymous sources told the paper that an analysis by Bezos's personal security team found that a massive amount of data was taken off of the phone after Bezos received a malicious file in a private WhatsApp message—and that the message was sent from the personal account of Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia.
The Guardian had no information about what exactly was taken from Bezos's phone, but the timing of the alleged hack is alarming. Months after the hack, the National Enquirer published a story accusing Bezos of an ongoing romantic relationship with a woman named Lauren Sanchez, quoting extensively from text messages and referencing "a cache of lewd selfies" that Bezos had sent. The story allegedly accelerated Bezos's divorce with his then wife, MacKenzie, from whom he was reportedly already separated when he began his relationship with Sanchez. The Enquirer's exposé galvanized Bezos to launch and personally fund an investigation into the leak that now points back to Mohammed bin Salman.
The intrigue doesn't end there. Bezos also owns The Washington Post, and as The Wall Street Journal reports, some experts suspect that the hack could have been part of a pressure campaign to influence the paper's coverage of Saudi Arabia. Less than six months after the hack reportedly happened, a squad of 15 men murdered Washington Post journalist and Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul, dismembering his body with a bone saw. The CIA has since concluded that bin Salman ordered the killing—claiming that the prince's brother in fact instructed Khashoggi to go to the embassy where he would be murdered—but the Saudi government denies any involvement to this day. Instead, Saudi Arabia claims that the assassination was committed by rogue agents who were later convicted in a secretive trial that human-rights organizations have called a sham.
Mohammed bin Salman now also denies that he was behind the hack of Bezos's phone. In light of all this, the United Nations has called for a full investigation, writing in a statement:
The circumstances and timing of the hacking and surveillance of Bezos also strengthen support for further investigation by U.S. and other relevant authorities of the allegations that the Crown Prince ordered, incited, or, at a minimum, was aware of planning for but failed to stop the mission that fatally targeted Mr. Khashoggi in Istanbul. At a time when Saudi Arabia was supposedly investigating the killing of Mr. Khashoggi, and prosecuting those it deemed responsible, it was clandestinely waging a massive online campaign against Mr. Bezos and Amazon targeting him principally as the owner of The Washington Post.
Whether bin Salman and Saudi Arabia suffer any scrutiny from the U.S. is unlikely. Donald Trump famously dislikes Bezos and mocked him on Twitter after the Enquirer story came out. The president also frequently praises and embraces authoritarian leaders, including Hungary's Viktor Orban and Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines. And his son-in-law and White House adviser, Jared Kushner, is also reportedly close friends with bin Salman, even staying in touch with the crown prince regularly via WhatsApp, of course.
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Originally Appeared on GQ