British newspaper “Guardian” sparked a new scandal of penetration for Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman related to American billionaire Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon and owner of the Washington Post.
The newspaper reported that Bin Salman was personally responsible for the hacking of Jeff Bezos’ phone through a message he sent to him from his personal account through the WhatsApp application.
The newspaper quoted sources familiar with the results of a digital forensic analysis related to the case as saying that the message sent by Bin Salman to Bezos contained a malicious file that hacked into the phone of the American billionaire.
The analysis concluded that it is “very likely” that the phone was hacked by video file that bin Salman sent to Bezos.
The Guardian indicated that bin Salman’s letter was sent on May 1, 2018, five months before the killing of his journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, at his country’s consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.
The newspaper stressed – quoting a source familiar with the analysis – that large amounts of data were withdrawn from the Bezos phone, without revealing its nature.
She also said that digital security experts took over the investigation that reached these results, after the American tabloid “National Enquirer” revealed an intimate relationship with Bezos, about nine months after the date his phone was hacked.
According to what the newspaper revealed, it all started on May 1 of 2018, when Jeff Bezos received a message on his phone through the “WhatsApp” application from the private number of Mohammed bin Salman.
The message, which turned out to be containing a malicious file, led to the penetration of Bezos phone five months before the assassination of Khashoggi, who was writing for the “Washington Post”.
The Guardian says that large amounts of data were extracted from the Bezos phone within hours, according to a person familiar with the matter, without specifying what this data is.
Bezos and Bin Salman apparently exchanged messages via WhatsApp normally, so it was only natural that Bezos would open the message without any doubts that the message coming from the future king of Saudi Arabia’s phone was loaded with a malicious file.
There is no doubt, according to the British newspaper, that this dangerous disclosure will jeopardize the campaign led by Bin Salman to attract foreign investment to the Kingdom.
The newspaper says that Agnies Calamar, the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, reviewed the forensic analysis of Bezos’ phone, and indications that the “breach” had started from an injured file from the Crown Prince’s account.
Kalamar, who found in her investigation into the Khashoggi murder “credible evidence” that the crown prince and other senior Saudi officials were responsible for the killing, that she still followed “several threads” in the killing, but declined to comment on the Bezos link.
This disclosure may lead to an investigation again about what the crown prince and his inner circle were doing in the months prior to the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, especially since the kingdom previously denied that it had penetrated Bezos phone, and considered that the assassination of Khashoggi was the result of individual decisions by the team He interviewed him at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, in October 2018.
In March 2019, Detective Gavin de Baker, chief of security for Jeff Bezos, said that the Saudi government had reached Bezos’ phone and obtained private information from it.
De Baker, a long-time security consultant, said he ended his investigation of spreading leaked text messages between Bezos and Lauren Sanchez, a former TV anchor, published by the National Enquirer in January, and said Bezos was dating Sanchez, which Bezos was separated from his wife after the publication of correspondence and photos.
The Guardian considered that Muhammad Bin Salman’s penetration of Bezos’ phone came as a punishment for publishing Khashoggi articles in his newspaper “Washington Post”.
On the other hand, the Kingdom’s embassy in Washington tried to deny the accusation directed against Muhammad bin Salman, claiming that it requested an investigation into these allegations in order to clarify the facts. At the same time, Amazon declined to comment.
Bezos had said that he had been subjected to extortion, adding that his newspaper’s coverage of the Khashoggi killing was “undoubtedly unpopular in some circles”, noting that the relationship between “American Media” – the owner of the National Enquirer – and Riyadh is still not fully understood.