Analysis Said to Tie Hacking of Bezos’ Phone to Saudi Leader’s Account

SEATTLE — A forensic evaluation of Jeff Bezos’ cellphone discovered with “medium to high confidence” that the Amazon chief’s machine was hacked after he acquired a video from a WhatsApp account reportedly belonging to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia, based on an individual conversant in the Bezos-ordered investigation.

After Mr. Bezos, who additionally owns The Washington Post, acquired the video over the WhatsApp messaging platform in 2018, his telephone started sending unusually giant volumes of knowledge, stated the individual, who declined to be recognized as a result of they weren’t licensed to debate the matter.

The individual stated the investigators believed Prince Mohammed was used as a conduit as a result of the message wouldn’t elevate suspicions if it got here from him.

The findings of the forensics investigation, accomplished on behalf of Mr. Bezos by Anthony Ferrante on the enterprise advisory agency FTI Consulting, couldn’t be independently verified by The New York Times.

After the findings had been reported by The Guardian and The Financial Times, the Saudi Embassy denied that the Saudi authorities was concerned.

“Recent media reports that suggest the Kingdom is behind a hacking of Mr. Jeff Bezos’ phone are absurd,” the Saudi Embassy said on Twitter. “We call for an investigation on these claims so that we can have all the facts out.”

Mr. Bezos’ safety marketing consultant, Gavin de Becker, had beforehand accused the Saudi government of hacking Mr. Bezos’ phone, saying Saudi authorities focused Mr. Bezos as a result of he owned The Washington Post. The Post has aggressively reported on the homicide of Jamal Khashoggi, one in all its columnists, who was a critic of the Saudi authorities. The Central Intelligence Agency has concluded that Prince Mohammed ordered the killing.

Two United Nations specialists plan to launch a public assertion Wednesday morning “addressing serious allegations” that Mr. Bezos was hacked by receiving a WhatsApp message “reportedly from an account belonging to the crown prince of Saudi Arabia,” one of many specialists, Agnes Callamard, stated in an e-mail.

Ms. Callamard, a specialist in extrajudicial killings, has been investigating Mr. Khashoggi’s homicide, and David Kaye, an skilled in human rights legislation, has been gathering details about violations of freedom of the press.

Amazon and Mr. de Becker declined to remark. William Isaacson, Mr. Bezos’ lawyer at Boies Schiller Flexner, declined to remark past saying that Mr. Bezos was cooperating with persevering with investigations. Mr. Ferrante declined to remark via a FTI spokesman.

“All FTI Consulting client work is confidential,” Matt Bashalany, a spokesman for FTI, stated in a press release. “We do not comment on, confirm or deny client engagements or potential engagements.”

The questions on who has had entry to Mr. Bezos’ telephone erupted a yr in the past, after The National Enquirer reported that the tech government was romantically concerned with Lauren Sanchez, a former TV anchor. At the time, The Enquirer printed photographs of the couple collectively, in addition to intimate textual content messages.

Mr. Bezos later printed emails from American Media, the mother or father firm of The National Enquirer, which he stated amounted to “extortion and blackmail.” He steered that the leaks of photographs and particulars of his non-public life may have been politically motivated to hurt him due to his possession of The Post.

In March, Mr. de Becker accused the Saudi authorities of hacking Mr. Bezos’s telephone. In an opinion article in The Daily Beast, Mr. de Becker wrote that his “investigators and several experts concluded with high confidence” that the Saudis acquired non-public data from Mr. Bezos’ telephone and that he turned the proof they’d uncovered over to legislation enforcement authorities.

Mr. de Becker didn’t element particular proof they uncovered, nor did he element whether or not the leaked data was printed by The Enquirer. American Media denied any Saudi involvement, saying Ms. Sanchez’s brother was the tabloid’s sole supply.

Karen Weise reported from Seattle, and Matthew Rosenberg from Washington. Rick Gladstone contributed reporting from New York.

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