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Saudi Arabia denies involvement in leak of Jeff Bezos' messages to the National Enquirer

Key Points
  • Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir says the Arab kingdom had "nothing to do with" the leaking of Bezos' texts.
  • Bezos lashed out at National Enquirer publisher AMI for alleged blackmail and extortion in a stunning blog post last week.
  • He alluded to claims that AMI and CEO David Pecker have links to the Saudi government.
Amazon and Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos provides the keynote address at the Air Force Association's Annual Air, Space & Cyber Conference in Oxen Hill, MD, on September 19, 2018.
Jim Watson | AFP | Getty Images

Saudi Arabia rejected the suggestion it played a role in leaking Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' intimate messages to the National Enquirer.

Adel al-Jubeir, the country's minister of state for foreign affairs, told CBS' "Face the Nation" on Sunday that the Arab kingdom had "nothing to do with" the episode.

"Absolutely not," Jubeir said when quizzed over whether his government had any involvement in the leaking of messages to AMI, the tabloid's publisher.

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"This sounds to me like a soap opera," he added. "I've been watching it on television and reading about it in the paper. This is something between the two parties. We have nothing to do with it."

His remarks come after Bezos lashed out at AMI for alleged blackmail and extortion in a stunning blog post last week. In the post, Bezos said the National Enquirer threatened to post sexual pictures he had texted to his mistress, Lauren Sanchez, including a "below the belt selfie."

Bezos alluded to claims that AMI and CEO David Pecker have links to the Saudi government. The Amazon chief also mentioned his ownership of The Washington Post, noting that the newspaper's "essential and unrelenting coverage of the murder of its columnist Jamal Khashoggi is undoubtedly unpopular in certain circles."

Bezos said he had hired investigators to probe how the National Enquirer obtained the sensitive texts. He added that Pecker was apparently "apoplectic" about the investigation, and that the alleged "Saudi angle" appeared to have "hit a particularly sensitive nerve."

"Maybe some of our citizens read the National Enquirer when they're in the United States," Jubeir said, when pressed by CBS' Margaret Brennan. "Other citizens watch the soap opera unfold on television, but that's it."

Pecker's attorney Elkan Abramowitz denied Bezos' accusation that his client engaged in extortion and blackmail, and dismissed the implication of any involvement from the Saudi government.

"This was a source that had been giving information to the National Enquirer for seven years. It was a person that was known to both Bezos and Ms. Sanchez, therefore giving his information more credibility," Abramowitz told ABC's "This Week" on Sunday.

The Daily Beast, citing multiple sources, said Sanchez's brother, Michael, was the source of the texts. The news site said Michael Sanchez, a Trump supporter, declined to comment.

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