Who’s who in the scandal involving intimate pictures of the world’s richest man
The founder of Amazon was until recently perceived to a be a nerdy technocrat bent on nothing more than dominating every single aspect of world commerce through ruthless efficiency. Now, the richest man in the world has transformed himself into the bulked-up, leather jacket-wearing owner of the Washington Post, willing to take on both rival media barons and the US president after details of his love life were made public. The 55-year-old struggled to control the scandal when the National Enquirer first revealed details of his affair with a TV presenter, Lauren Sanchez, last month but he has since gone on the warpath, responding to threats from the tabloid by publishing his correspondence with the outlet, including detailed descriptions of intimate images he sent to his lover.
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Interest is growing in the activities of a tabloid increasingly entwined with Trump
It has all the ingredients to make a classic National Enquirer tale: the world’s richest man, salacious leaked text messages, a feud between a press baron and the US president, pictures of a penis, private investigators, the Mueller inquiry, large sums of money, claims of foreign government involvement, accusations of dirty tricks, and an attempt to exert control over a prominent figure using compromising material.
But this time the Enquirer itself is the focus of the story. The boss of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, published an extraordinary public statement on Thursday, accusing the celebrity-driven tabloid of “extortion and blackmail”. The billionaire said the paper, which had already exposed his affair with a TV anchor, had threatened to publish more compromising material unless he publicly declared that its coverage was not “politically motivated or influenced by political forces”.