Apparent targeting of Amazon billionaire’s phone fits into broader pattern of behaviour by Saudi Arabia
Amazon boss Jeff Bezos’s phone ‘hacked by Saudi crown prince’
Stephanie Kirchgaessner in Washington
Tue 21 Jan 2020
Mohammed bin Salman and his inner circle have been criticised for engaging in plots to undermine real and perceived critics of his regime. Photograph: STRINGER/Reuters
Jeff Bezos, the billionaire owner of the Washington Post, had no reason to be suspicious when he received a WhatsApp message from the account of the crown prince of Saudi Arabia in May 2018.
Bezos and Mohammed bin Salman had attended a dinner together in Hollywood a few weeks earlier hosted by Brian Grazer, the Oscar-winning producer, and Ari Emanuel, the powerful talent agent, as part of the young crown prince’s tour of America, which was hailed by some observers as an effort to rebrand the kingdom and set it on a new course.
The then 32-year-old Saudi heir, known all over the world as “MBS”, had been greeted with open arms from Los Angeles to New York – with stops at the White House, MIT, and Harvard. He had rubbed shoulders with celebrities ranging from Oprah to Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.