JEFF Bezos’ affair with Lauren Sanchez was exposed when she showed text messages to her brother and he then sold them, it has been reported.
Prosecutors say Michael Sanchez sold the flirty messages from the 56-year-old Amazon boss to the National Enquirer for $200,000, which then revealed the affair.
The messages form part of an investigation by federal prosecutors into whether American Media Inc, the publishers of the National Enquirer, attempted to extort Bezos, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Prosecutors have so far not charged Michael Sanchez, Lauren Sanchez or anyone else with a crime as part of the investigation.
The texts allegedly sent from the Mr Bezos to Lauren Sanchez emerged in January 2019 and came just 24 hours after he announced his amicable divorce from wife of 25 years MacKenzie.
The Enquirer quoted a text in its article about Mr Bezos’ extramarital affair with Ms Sanchez, who was also married.
A text message sent from Ms Sanchez’s phone to her brother’s on July 3, includes a photo of a shirtless Mr. Bezos.
Bezos and Sanchez appeared as a couple on January 16 when they toured India to launch his new range of electric rickshaws and rub elbows with India's elite.
Bezos accused the Enquirer of blackmailing him by threatening to publish nude photos he sent to Lauren and suggested they were obtained because of the links between the Saudi government and the magazine's publisher.
The revelations come after the UN has demanded an investigation into allegations made by Bezos that Saudi Arabia’s Prince Mohammed bin Salman hacked his phone.
A forensics team hired by Bezos reportedly concluded the Amazon founder's mobile had been hacked from an account controlled by the heir to the Saudi throne.
It is claimed that Bezos was targeted as the owner of the Washington Post, which murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi worked for at the time of his death.
Saudi Arabia has denied that it was responsible for the hack.
A spokesman for American media said that “in September of 2018, Michael Sanchez began providing all materials and information to our reporters”.
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Any suggestion that a third part such as Saudi Arabia “was involved in or in any way influenced our reporting is false”.
Mr Sanchez declined to comment on the texts or his contract with American Media.
“With spoon-fed lies and half-truths, Wall Street Journal keeps getting it wrong,” Mr. Sanchez said in an emailed statement to the paper.