Jeff Bezos breaks silence on reports that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman hacked his phone by commemorating the journalist whose murder was linked to the Saudi government
- Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman reportedly hacked Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' phone in May 2018, the Guardian reported Tuesday - claims that UN investigators backed on Wednesday.
- In his first public comment since the initial reports, Bezos tweeted out a photo Wednesday showing himself attending a vigil in 2019 for Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, whose death has been linked to the Saudi government.
- Khashoggi wrote stories critical of the Saudi government for the Washington Post, the paper that Bezos owns.
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Jeff Bezos tweeted out a photo Wednesday commemorating slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi - a tweet that marks his his first public statement since it was first reported that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman appears to be responsible for hacking the Amazon CEO's phone.
The photo shared on Twitter shows Bezos attending a vigil in 2019 commemorating the one-year anniversary of the death of Khashoggi, a columnist for the Washington Post - the paper that Bezos owns - who often penned articles highly critical of the Saudi government. Khashoggi's death in October 2018 has been linked to the Saudi government, and many believe that Crown Prince Mohammed was personally behind the killing.
Bezos has laid low on social media since the Guardian reported Tuesday that Crown Prince Mohammed was responsible for hacking the Amazon CEO's phone by sending him a video file containing malware over WhatsApp in 2018. The United Nations has since called for an "immediate investigation" into Crown Prince Mohammed's role in the hack.
This week's revelations shed further light on accusations first leveled by Bezos himself in early 2019 that the Saudi government was involved in a longstanding campaign against the Amazon CEO and the Washington Post.
The Saudis reportedly hacked Bezos' phone back in May 2018, after Bezos and Crown Prince Mohammed exchanged numbers at a dinner party in Los Angeles. Crown Prince Mohammed reportedly sent Bezos an encrypted video file appearing to be "an Arabic language promotional film about telecommunications," which may have contained malware allowing him to access the Amazon CEO's phone.
Additionally, a "massive online campaign" was previously launched in Saudi Arabia against Bezos just two weeks after Khashoggi was killed in October 2018, the UN investigators said. For its part, the Saudi government has denied any involvement in the hack of Bezos' phone or in the killing of Khashoggi.
However, it's still not clear whether the Saudi government played a role in leaking photos and messages revealing Bezos' relationship with former TV anchor Lauren Sanchez amid his divorce proceedings. Crown Prince Mohammed reportedly sent a meme to Bezos in November 2018 that forensic investigators say hints he had access to Bezos' personal messages and knowledge of his affair with Sanchez months before the National Enquirer broke the story.