Prosecutors to meet with Bezos in extortion probe

Amazon employee applies tape to a package before shipment at an Amazon fulfillment center in Baltimore. The online shopping giant which already works with BP and Shell has been trying to woo more oil and gas

Federal prosecutors in NY are planning to meet with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos about his allegations that the National Enquirer tried to blackmail him with help from Saudi Arabia, a person familiar with the plans said Thursday.

The company is said to be in talks with California billionaire investor Ron Burkle, reports The New York Times, though a spokesperson for Burkle's Yucaipa Companies investment firm, stated: "We are not interested in, looking at and have not approached AMI about buying the National Enquirer".

The National Enquirer, which is under fire for paying hush money to a former model linked to US President Donald Trump, is on the auction block.

Messages were sent to AMI seeking comment Thursday. The Associated Press reported a year ago that Pecker kept a safe that held documents on hush money payments and killed stories, including records on ones involving Trump.

The Bezos attack also threatened to upend American Media's non-prosecution agreement with federal prosecutors. In addition to the National Enquirer, American Media said it was also considering selling two other brands, Globe and National Examiner.

The meeting comes after Bezos' longtime security consultant, Gavin de Becker, wrote in The Daily Beast last month that private investigators had "concluded with high confidence that the Saudis had access to Bezos' phone and gained private information".

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AMI has defended its reporting on Bezos' affair with Lauren Sanchez, a former television anchor.

Bezos himself had suggested in his own online post that he had become the enemy of Saudi Arabia and Trump due to coverage of the murder of Khashoggi in the Washington Post, and pointed out that AMI had long sought to ingratiate itself with both the kingdom and the President.

Bezos accused the tabloid of blackmail in a public blog post. "Despite the false and unsubstantiated claims of Mr.de Becker, American Media has, and continues to, refute the claims that the materials for our report were acquired with the help of anyone other than the single source who first brought them to us", the company said.

Inc. Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos, in an annual letter to shareholders, argued that Amazon's growth has benefited its third-party merchants-a veiled riposte to calls to break up the company.

According to CNN, Bezos could meet with federal officials as soon as this week to hand over his personal electronic devices for examination.

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