Amazon's Jeff Bezos says National Enquirer owner tried to blackmail him

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Amazon's Jeff Bezos says National Enquirer owner tried to blackmail him

The billionaire founder of Amazon claimed in an explosive post published Thursday that the Enquirer, which is published by Trump-pal David Pecker, recently tried to extort him by threatening to release explicit photos he sent Sanchez if he continued the investigation.

In its January 9 story, the Enquirer reported that Bezos sent "sleazy text messages and gushing love notes" to Sanchez, months before Bezos announced he was splitting up with his wife, MacKenzie. That same day, the National Enquirer touted it was publishing alleged intimate text messages between Bezos and Lauren Sanchez, a former television anchor whom he was said to be dating.

Since the tabloid affair, Bezos opened an investigation into the leak led by Gavin de Becker, a public safety expert and former appointee of US President Ronald Reagan.

On Jan. 31, de Becker was quoted in the Daily Beast suggesting that the Enquirer's pursuit of Bezos was politically motivated.

Bezos went on to say that, "Any personal embarrassment AMI could cause me takes a back seat because there's a much more important matter involved here", Bezos wrote. In it, AMI proposed a public acknowledgment from Bezos and de Becker that "they have no knowledge or basis for suggesting that (AMI's) coverage was politically motivated or influenced by political forces".

American Media Inc (AMI), the owner of the National Enquirer, did not immediately return a request for comment. "If in my position I cannot stand up to this kind of extortion, how many people can?"

AMI, the company that owns the National Enquirer is now feeling the heat from Justice Department investigations into potential corruption related to AMI CEO David Pecker's close ties with Donald Trump and the Saudi government.

In addition to founding the world's largest e-commerce site, Bezos, is also the owner and benefactor of The Washington Post. The National Enquirer admitted a year ago, according to the Southern District of NY police, to facilitating a USD$150,000 payment to former Playboy model Karen McDougal to retain exclusive rights to her story - some say to ensure the details weren't released until after the campaign.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Former TV host Lauren Sanchez is reported to be in a relationship with Mr Bezos Why does he mention President Trump?

[.] Because of both [their] friendship and the money that Pecker saw could be made from promoting the Republican presidential candidate, Pecker used the "National Enquirer" as a forum for promoting Trump's campaign.

In one e-mail that Mr Bezos disclosed, Mr Howard wrote that The Enquirer had obtained photos of Mr Bezos and Ms Sanchez as part of its "news-gathering".

He accuses the Enquirer of "extortion and blackmail".

Pecker is now cooperating with federal investigators who are looking into the company's involvement with the Trump campaign.

In his post on Medium, Bezos called his ownership of The Post "a complexifier" for him.

In the Medium post, Bezos references Pecker's relationship with Trump. He also published correspondence between AMI and lawyers for his investigator, Gavin de Becker.

"It shows how complicated and risky it is to make an agreement with National Enquirer", Levenson said.

· Mr Bezos face selfie at what appears to be a business meeting.

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