Prosecutors to meet with Bezos in extortion probe

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos speaks at a press conference

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is scheduled to meet with federal prosecutors in NY as soon as this week, according to people familiar with the matter.

Plans for that meeting come as prosecutors in the Southern District of NY are seeking to obtain access to Bezos's electronic devices, these people said.

The meeting signals that the U.S. attorney's office is escalating its inquiry connected to Bezos's suggestion that the kingdom of Saudi Arabia was behind a National Enquirer story that exposed his extramarital affair and his claim that the tabloid attempted to extort him. "This is something between the two parties".

Schwartz didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

An American Media attorney denied that the tabloid committed blackmail, but the attack from Bezos threatened potentially big legal costs and at a bad time for American Media.

AMI has defended its reporting on Bezos' affair with Lauren Sanchez, a former television anchor. But de Becker suggested the Enquirer had been aware of Bezos' affair before it ever reached out to Sanchez's brother, and that the "initial information came from other channels".

He said his inquiry "included a broad array of resources", including discussions with Saudi dissidents and whistleblowers and "people who personally know" Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Walmart is punching back after Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos on Thursday challenged other retailers to match or exceed the ecommerce giant's minimum wage for workers, which it moved to hike last fall to $15 an hour.

Attorneys for Bezos, the world's richest man, have been engaged in negotiations regarding his electronics.

Bezos' security team has looked into the matter and believes the Saudis, because of the Post's coverage of the murder of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, tried to extort him through the Enquirer.

Bezos accused the tabloid of blackmail in a public blog post.

AMI sent a letter to the Justice Department in May saying it had allowed a representative of the Saudi government to review a draft of the magazine and suggest changes before it went to press.

Amazon remains under fire for what critics say are harsh working conditions in the company's warehouses.

David Pecker, chief executive of American Media, has been a longtime Trump ally and has described the president as a "personal friend".