Jeff Bezos Accuses Tabloid of Blackmail

The world's richest man, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, has charged the owner of a US gossip magazine with an attempt to blackmail him over lewd pictures.

He said the National Enquirer's parent company, American Media, Inc. (AMI), wanted him to stop probe how they had obtained his private messages,

Bezos and his wife Mackenzie said they were divorcing last month.

Hours later the magazine published details, including private messages, of an extramarital affair.

AMI has not yet responded to the BBC's request for comment.

In an unexpected blog post on Thursday, Bezos posted an email he said had been sent to his intermediaries by AMI's representatives threatening to publish "intimate photos" of him and his lover, former TV host Lauren Sanchez.

The billionaire, who also owns the Washington Post newspaper, said AMI had wanted him to make a "false public statement" that the National Enquirer's coverage of him and his mistress was not politically motivated.

According to emails included by Bezos in his blog, an AMI lawyer proposed on Wednesday that the photos would not be published in return for a public statement "affirming that [Bezos and his team] have no knowledge or basis" to suspect such a motive.

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