Jeff Bezos News

Jeff Bezos News:

Who hacked the phone from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos? The UN suspects the Saudi crown prince. But the affair is even more confused.

The guest list was an exquisite mix of Hollywood and Silicon Valley. Disney boss Bob Iger, Snapchat boss Evan Spiegel, super-agent Ari Emanuel, tech investor and ex-NBA star Kobe Bryant: As always, star producer Brian Grazer made sure that his dinner party was well balanced.

This is how the "New York Post" later described it. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos was also there that April evening 2018 when Grazer welcomed the VIP round in his 1100 square meter villa in Santa Monica.

The occasion was a rare guest of honour - the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Prince Mohammed, called MbS, was on a three-week PR tour of the United States to promote the "new", progressive Saudi Arabia.

He met US President Donald Trump at the White House, as well as Wall Street makers, Michael Bloomberg, Bill Clinton, Oprah Winfrey and others.

Money and business:

Prince Mohammed and Bezos already knew each other. What they discussed in Santa Monica is unclear.

Bezos, the richest man in the world, owns the "Washington Post", whose columnist at that time Jamal Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi royal family, was angry with Riyadh.

The only clear thing is that the Crown Prince and Bezos exchanged phone numbers that were also linked to their WhatsApp accounts. This started a thriller, the true extent of which is only now slowly becoming apparent.

On Wednesday, an official UN report confirmed the suspicion that Prince Mohammed had the smartphone from Bezos hacked via WhatsApp "to influence, if not freeze, the Washington Post's coverage of Saudi Arabia."

Khashoggi was murdered seven months after dinner, presumably at the behest of Prince Mohammed.

Three months later, in January 2019, the US National Enquirer gossip, whose publisher David Pecker is well known to both Trump and Prince Mohammed, unveiled Bezos' extramarital affair by publishing intimate chats on his cell phone.

So far it has not been possible to say whether and how all of this is connected. However, a first chronology can be reconstructed from reports from the United Nations, the "Guardian", the "Washington Post", the websites "Daily Beast" and "Vice", the company FTI Consulting, which examined the hack, and other sources.

Chronology of a crime thriller

  • March 19, 2018: Prince Mohammed arrives in the United States.

  • March 20, 2018: Trump welcomes Prince Mohammed to the Oval Office and says they are "good friends".

  • March 26, 2018: The publishing house AMI, the parent company of the "National Enquirer", publishes a glossy magazine that praises Saudi Arabia and Prince Mohammed.

  • April 2, 2018: Media Tsar Rupert Murdoch, who owns Trump-related Fox News, hosts Prince Mohammed in his California villa. According to US reports, his table companions include actors Michael Douglas and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. It is not known whether telephone numbers are exchanged.

  • April 3, 2018: The Washington Post publishes a column in Khashoggi complaining of "new forms of repression" in Saudi Arabia.

  • April 4, 2018: Prince Mohammed and Bezos meet for dinner in Santa Monica. That same evening, Bezos sent the crown prince the first SMS from his iPhone X: "Hello MBS."

  • April 5, 2018: Prince Mohammed replies to Bezos: "Hello, I have saved the number."

  • May 1, 2018: Bezos receives an apparent PR video about Saudi Arabia from Prince Mohammed's WhatsApp account, which, as it turns out later, apparently serves as a lock for spyware. "Massive" amounts of data begin to flow out of Bezos' smartphone within hours. The unnoticed data flow lasts for months.

  • October 2, 2018: Khashoggi is murdered in the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul. UN investigators, the CIA and the Turkish government assume that Prince Mohammed personally ordered the crime.

  • October 15, 2018: A month-long worldwide Twitter campaign against Bezos and the "Washington Post" starts in Saudi Arabia.

  • November 8, 2018: Bezos receives a photo of a woman who looks similar to Lauren Sanchez from Prince Mohammed's WhatsApp account. The caption seems to be a reference to Bezos' affair and his upcoming divorce, both of which are still unknown: "Arguing with a woman is like licensing software.

  • January 10, 2019: The "National Enquirer" makes Bezos' affair public with intimate chats. The first suspicions point to the friendship of the publisher Pecker with Trump, who repeatedly attacks the "Washington Post". Bezos has his iPhone examined by forensic experts.

  • February 7, 2019: Bezos accuses the "National Enquirer" of attempted extortion, among other things, with private nude photos that the sheet owns.

  • February 8, 2019: Saudi Arabia denies being behind the reports in the "Enquirer". AMI said it received a "tip" from Sanchez's brother Michael Sanchez, who was associated with Trump's associates.

  • March 21, 2019: Democrats in the US Congress complain to the White House that Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, who is responsible for Middle East politics, is communicating with foreign heads of state via WhatsApp and is, therefore, a security risk. CNN later reports that Kushner is also chatting with Prince Mohammed via WhatsApp

  • March 30, 2019: Bezos 'security chief Gavin de Becker writes on "Daily Beast" that Saudi Arabia has "highly likely" got access to Bezos' smartphone. Thanks to Pecker's "close ties" to the Crown Prince, the "inquirer" then served as the publication organ.

  • October 1, 2019: Bezos takes part in a commemoration of the first anniversary of Khashoggi's death in Istanbul.

  • October 29, 2019: WhatsApp parent company Facebook sued the Israeli company NSO Group for attacking around 1,400 devices with its spyware via WhatsApp.

  • November 14, 2019: Facebook confirms that spy software can be installed with WhatsApp videos.

The Uno turns on:

  1. November 2019: UN commissioner Agnès Callamard and David Kaye receive a forensic report from FTI Consulting on the Bezos hack. You start your investigation.
  2. January 20, 2020: Callamard and Kaye send the Saudi Arabian government a draft of their report.
  3. January 21, 2020: The "Guardian" reports on the hack Bezos'.
  4. January 22, 2020: Callamard and Kaye publish their report linking the hack, the Twitter campaign, the Khashoggi murder and the "Inquirer" revelations. 

"The Crown Prince's direct and personal involvement must be cleared up." The report names the NSO Group as a possible source of the spyware, but denies this.

Saudi Arabia also denies the allegations as "absurd" and "absolutely silly". The White House is silent. The "Wall Street Journal" quotes sources "from the Crown Prince's environment" who want to know about the hacking attack on Bezos.

The campaign was controlled by Prince Mohammed's media director Saud al-Qahtani. As the first reaction, Bezos only tweets a photo that shows him at the funeral service for Khashoggi, including the hashtag #Jamal.


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