"Our investigators and several experts concluded that Saudis had access to Bezos & # 39; phone and received private information," wrote Gavin de Becker in a Daily Beast statement article released on Saturday. He did not provide concrete evidence supporting his claims against the Saudi government. De Becker said that his findings have been transferred to federal officials and that he will not share details of the investigation with respect to those officials, adding "I intend to write today as my last public statement in the case."  He added that it is not clear whether National Enquirer's parent company American Media Inc., or AMI, "was aware of the details."
AMI responded to the Beckers statement in a statement to CNN Business on Sunday saying it was on a source, Sanchez's brother, Michael Sanchez, for his story.
"Despite the devalued claims of Mr. de Becker, American Media, and continues to, disprove the undisputed claims that the materials of our report were acquired by someone other than the single source who first brought them to us … there was no involvement of any other third party whatsoever. "Saudi Arabia denies any relationship with the Bezos story, according to de Becker. Saudi Arabian officials and de Becker did not respond to CNN's requests for comments on op-ed this weekend.
De Becker's article raises the stakes around the National Enquirer's tabloid exhibition of a romantic relationship between billionaire Amazon CEO and Sanchez, a former anchor for Fox's local Los Angeles station. Bezos has suggested that AMI tried to force him to speak to the Saudi government ̵
1; allegedly linking to AMI – and upset by Bezos-owned Washington Post's coverage of the killed columnist Jamal Khashoggi – or President Donald Trump. AMI says it's not the case.
In the Daily Beast, De Becker wrote that he and his team spoke to current and former AMI leaders and sources, Middle East intelligence experts, Saudi whistleblowers and dissidents, as well as current and former advisers to President Trump, including before they came to the conclusion.
The National Inquirer attempted to "strengthen an American citizen who [Saudi Arabia’s] the country's leadership wanted to damage, compromised and the board," according to de Becker.
Both Bezos and the Washington Post have been repeatedly criticized by the president, who has his own links to US media.
AMI leader David Pecker is a longtime friend of Trumps, and Enquirer was one of Trump's most trusted and enthusiastic media enhancers during the campaign. The publisher has admitted making a $ 150,000 payout in collaboration with members of Trump's presidential campaign to prevent former Playboy model Karen McDougal's claim for an affair with Trump from being released during the 2016 race. Trump refused.
Finally, federal prosecutors struck a non-persecution agreement with the publisher, effectively excluding AMI's expenses over their role in securing hush money from Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen.
De Becker believes the text and photographs sent from Bezos and Lauren Sanchez were shared with National Enquirer by Michael Sanchez.
But de Becker claims that the National Inquirer knew about the messages before approaching Sanchez. Sanchez told CNN Business that AMI was already pursuing a story about the relationship when it came to him. He added that "the Beckers latest smoke-and-mirror distraction" contained "zero evidence".
In his statement, AMI said that "the facts of the matter are that it was Michael Sanchez who sent the National Enquirer to the affair on September 10, 2018, and within four months provided all the materials for investigation." The spokesman added that Sanchez & # 39; Continued efforts to discuss and mistakenly represent our reporting, and his role in it, has abolished any source of confidentiality. »
De Becker claims that the first source is the Saudi Arabian government. He said the Saudi leadership wanted to hurt Bezos because of Washington Post's coverage of Khashoggi's death. Khashoggi, who had been critical of Saudi Arabia and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, was killed and dismembered in the Saudi Arabian Consulate in Istanbul this fall.
The Saudis have presented changing stories of Khashoggi's fate, initially denying any knowledge until they claimed that a group of rogue operators, many of whom belong to bin Salman's inner circle, were responsible for the journalist's death. Riyadh maintains that neither bin Salman nor King Salman knew about the operation to target Khashoggi. However, US officials have said that such a mission – including 15 men sent from Riyadh – could not have been carried out without bin Salman's authorization.
The Washington Post has reached the tire close, and Bezos was the target of a pro-saudi campaign used by Saudi social media and a Saudi journalist in the wake of Khashoggi's death, requesting a boycott against the Amazon and Souq, an e-commerce site owned by Amazon.
Bezos himself drew attention to the connection between AMI and Saudi Arabia in an explosive blog post he published to Medium in February accusing AMI of Try to extort him with evidence of affair.
In the post, Bezos noted that AMI has been investigated "for various actions they have taken on behalf of the Saudi government."
He pointed to an Associated Press story about AMI's release of a blank magazine celebrating Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's visit to the United States in April 2018. AMI denied that Saudis had controlled the magazine's production or paid for it, but AP reported that three weeks Before the Prince's arrival, the media company sent a copy to the Saudi embassy, circulating among officials who then shared it with Washington's foreign policy contacts. AMI said it did not share a preview of the report with the Saudis, AP said in its history.
De Becker also referred to the story as evidence of a connection between AMI and the Saudi government.
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir has previously denied any connection between his country and AMI to CNN.
– CNN's Brian Stelter, Oliver Darcy, Tom Kludt, Nicole Gaouette, Nada Altaher, Chandler Thornton and Sheena McKenzie contributed to this report.