Jeff Bezos personal phone was hacked after he received a WhatsApp message from Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, suspected of containing malicious files.
UN officials are expected to report today that they have credible evidence to suggest the Amazon founder’s phone was targeted by Saudi Arabia, implicating Mohammed bin Salman directly, and that both the US and the kingdom should launch an investigation.
According to The Guardian, the results of a digital forensic analysis commissioned by Bezos suggest it is “highly probable” a video message sent from the WhatsApp account used by the prince was infected and led to the intrusion.
The message was sent on May 1 2018 as the pair engaged in a seemingly friendly chat, according sources familiar with the matter who wish to remain anonymous.
The investigation was launched after a story ran in the National Enquirer which featured private texts about an extramarital relationship Bezos was involved in.
Though the publication alleges they were tipped off by the estranged brother of Bezos girlfriend, the investigators said they had “high confidence” the Saudis had managed to gain access to the billionaire’s private information.
The forensic report commissioned by Bezos team has now been reviewed by UN special rapporteur Agnès Callamard, who investigates extrajudicial killings.
The UN is understood to have found the evidence credible enough to be considering a formal approach to Saudi Arabia to demand an explanation, building a towards a fuller report to be released in June.
Saudi Arabia’s US embassy took to Twitter to respond to the report, branding it “absurd”
Recent media reports that suggest the Kingdom is behind a hacking of Mr. Jeff Bezos' phone are absurd. We call for an investigation on these claims so that we can have all the facts out.
— Saudi Embassy (@SaudiEmbassyUSA) January 22, 2020
This will further raise tensions between Bezos and the Saudi crown which had already been strained to breaking point after the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Khashoggi was a columnist for the Washington Post, owned by Bezos, which has since been fiercely critical of the crown prince.