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UN calls for probe into possible hacking of Jeff Bezos' phone

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Posted at 8:36 AM, Jan 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-22 10:08:10-05

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – United Nations experts have called for an "immediate investigation" by the United States into information they received that suggests that Jeff Bezos' phone was hacked after receiving a file sent from Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's WhatsApp account.

Bezos owns The Washington Post and is the founder of Amazon.

At a time when Saudi Arabia was supposedly investigating the killing of Saudi critic and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi and prosecuting those it deemed responsible, "it was clandestinely waging a massive online campaign against Mr. Bezos and Amazon targeting him principally as the owner of The Washington Post," the experts said in their statement.

Investigators found that after Bezos got the video file in 2018, his phone began sending unusually large volumes of data, The New York Times reports.

A person familiar with the investigation told The Times that it’s believed that Prince Mohammed was used as a conduit because the message would not raise suspicions if it came from him. Investigators say Bezos received a message from the prince’s account that suggests he had intimate knowledge of Bezos’ private life, according to the report.

In a statement posted on Twitter, the Saudi Embassy denied that the country was behind the hacking.

“Recent media reports that suggest the Kingdom is behind a hacking of Mr. Jeff Bezos' phone are absurd,” they wrote. “We call for an investigation on these claims so that we can have all the facts out.”