Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman allegedly hacked Amazon founder Jeff Bezos's phone
22 January 2020
The future king of Saudi Arabia, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was involved in hacking of the phone of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos in 2018, says a report in the Guardian newspaper.
The hacking, according to the report, was carried out five months before the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.
Mohammed bin Salman used a WhatsApp account to directly hack the Amazon founder’s phone, the report citing forensic sleuths deployed by Bezos said.
Bezos and the Saudi royal were engaged in a friendly chat on Whatsapp when Salman is said to have sent the Amazon CEO a video file that was likely infected with malware. The malware was used to extract large amount of data from Bezos’s phone in a matter of hours, says the report.
The report that the Saudi Crown prince who has embarked on an effort to transform Saudi Arabia by attracting huge foreign capital and reduce dependence on oil revenues, has stunned investors and markets across the world.
The revelation about targeting of the billionaire businessman comes after Mohammed bin Salman himself admitted his role in the brutal killing of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi .
Khashoggi, a former editor of Reuters and a regular commentator with the Bezos-owned Washington Post, was once regarded an insider with close ties Saudi ruling royal clan. He later turned a critic of the Saudi royals and had to flee his home country fearing vindictive and was living in exile in USA.
If the phone hacking turns out to be true, it is likely to lead to more investigations on how tabloid National Enquirer received text messages and photos of Bezos and his mistress in early 2019. It would then need a probe into the allegations of the publisher’s close ties with President Donald Trump, as well as its links to the government of Saudi Arabia.
President Trump's animosity toward Bezos, Amazon, and the Washington Post is well known, and it originates at least in part from his dissatisfaction with the Washington Post's coverage of him from before he assumed office, according to a regulatory filing by Amazon.