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BREAKING: Saudi Crown Prince’s WhatApp Account Was Used To Hack Jeff Bezos’ Phone

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United Nations’ experts are demanding an immediate investigation by the US and others into evidence indicating Jeff Bezos, the billionaire owner of the Washington Post, was hacked with spyware deployed in a WhatsApp message sent from the account of Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman.

The special rapporteurs – Agnès Callamard and David Kaye – said in a joint statement they were “gravely concerned” by information they had reviewed about the “possible involvement of the crown prince in surveillance of Mr Bezos, in an effort to influence, if not silence, the Washington Post’s reporting on Saudi Arabia”.

The statement comes after The Guardian reported on Tuesday that Bezos, who is chief executive of Amazon and the world’s richest man, appeared to have had his mobile phone “hacked” in 2018 after receiving a WhatsApp message apparently sent from the personal account of the crown prince of Saudi Arabia.

The encrypted message from the number used by Prince Mohammed is believed to have included a malicious file that infiltrated the phone, according to sources.

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman | Gettyimages
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman | Getty Images

Callamard, who is UN special rapporteur on summary executions and extrajudicial killings, and Kaye, UN special rapporteur on freedom of expression, said they recently became aware of a forensic analysis of Bezos’s iPhone that assessed with “medium to high confidence” that his phone was infiltrated on 1 May 2018 via an MP4 video file sent from a WhatsApp account utilised personally by Prince Mohammed.

“The information we have received suggests the possible involvement of the crown prince in surveillance of Mr Bezos, in an effort to influence, if not silence, The Washington Post’s reporting on Saudi Arabia.

“The allegations reinforce other reporting pointing to a pattern of targeted surveillance of perceived opponents and those of broader strategic importance to the Saudi authorities, including nationals and non-nationals,” the rapporteurs said.

“These allegations are relevant as well to ongoing evaluation of claims about the crown prince’s involvement in the 2018 murder of Saudi and Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

“The alleged hacking of Mr Bezos’s phone, and those of others, demands immediate investigation by US and other relevant authorities, including investigation of the continuous, multi-year, direct and personal involvement of the crown prince in efforts to target perceived opponents.”

In a statement released earlier, the Saudi Arabian embassy in Washington said: “Media reports that suggest the kingdom is behind a hacking of Mr Jeff Bezos’s phone are absurd. We call for an investigation on these claims so that we can have all the facts out.”

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