Last year, The National Enquirer published a story revealing that Bezos was having an affair with Sanchez’s sister, Lauren. Michael Sanchez said in his lawsuit that he entered a deal with the tabloid corroborating the affair, but that he did not have or provide nude photos of Bezos to the Enquirer.
After the story came out, Bezos published a blog post alleging that the tabloid tried to blackmail him with embarrassing photos that he sent to Lauren Sanchez. He also suggested that the Enquirer had ties with Saudi Arabia, which was upset with coverage in The Washington Post, a newspaper that Bezos owns. The Post had been harshly critical of the Saudi government after the killing of columnist and Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi.
Last month, two human rights experts at the United Nations said that Bezos’s iPhone was likely hacked through a file sent from an account used by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. But the UN experts did not tie the hack to the Enquirer. The experts called for an “immediate investigation” by the United States.
Bezos and de Becker said in the court documents filed this week that Michael Sanchez’s lawsuit is a way to “put himself back on the front pages and extract money” from them.
Bezos, whose stake in Amazon is worth nearly $US120 billion ($178 billion), is the world’s richest person.