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Amazon founder Jeff Bezos's bombshell extortion claim against National Enquirer parent company AMI is little more than a soap opera, according to a top Saudi diplomat, who on Sunday said the incident does not involve Saudi Arabia.
Appearing on CBS's 'Face the Nation', the kingdom's minister of state for foreign affairs denied that Saudi Arabia was behind the tabloid's reporting of an extramarital affair involving Bezos.
[SOUNDBITE CBS' MARGARET BRENNAN]: 'Did the Saudi government have anything to do with these leaks to AMI?'
[SOUNDBITE ADEL AL-JUBEIR, MINISTER OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS]: 'Absolutely not.
This sounds to me like a soap opera.
I'm watching it on television, I'm reading about it in the paper.
This is something between the two parties.
We have nothing to do with it.'
Bezos, in a blog post last week, linked AMI and its chief executive David Pecker with Saudi Arabia, and suggested that The Post's 'unrelenting coverage' of its murdered columnist Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi dissident, may have been a motivating factor behind AMI's reporting on Bezos.
Bezos also claimed AMI threatened to publish 'intimate photos' of him sent to his girlfriend unless he publicly stated that the Enquirer's reporting was not politically motivated.
AMI said last week that its reporting on Bezos was lawful and that it would investigate his claims. The killing of Khashoggi at the kingdom's Istanbul consulate last October strained Saudi Arabia's ties with Western allies, exposed the kingdom to possible sanctions and tarnished the image of de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Despite U.S. intelligence reports to the contrary, the Saudi minister on Sunday said the Crown Prince had nothing to do with Khashoggi's death.