UN experts have demanded an immediate investigation by US and other authorities into allegations that Saudi Arabia's crown prince was involved in a plot to hack the phone of Amazon boss and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos.
The UN special rapporteurs, Agnes Callamard and David Kaye, said on Wednesday they had information pointing to the "possible involvement" of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the alleged 2018 cyberattack, which preceded alleged threats by the National Enquirer to publish intimate photographs of the billionaire tech tycoon.
Callamard, the special rapporteur for extra-judicial killings, and Kaye, special rapporteur for free expression, said in a statement that they believed the hack was carried out "in an effort to influence, if not silence, The Washington Post's reporting on Saudi Arabia" and called for an "immediate investigation by US and other relevant authorities."
The Wall Street Journal said an FBI investigation into the hack was ongoing.
The bureau declined to comment.
Saudi officials dismissed the allegations as absurd.
The rapporteurs based their call for an investigation on a 17-page forensic report drawn up by Washington-based FTI Consulting, which a source familiar with the matter said had been commissioned by Bezos. The report alleges with "medium to high confidence" that the billionaire's iPhone X was hijacked by a malicious video file sent from a WhatsApp account used by the crown prince on May 1, 2018.
The hacking is said to have taken place months before the October 2018 murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and critic of the crown prince.
The CIA believes that Prince Mohammed ordered the killing of Khashoggi, sources told Reuters.He was murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul by Saudi agents and his body dismembered.
Prince Mohammed said last year that the killing was carried out by rogue operatives and he did not order it.