Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Photo: Billal Bensalem/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Last year the National Enquirer’s parent company, American Media LLC, asked the Department of Justice whether it should register as a foreign agent after including editorial suggestions from an adviser to Saudi Arabia and publishing a promotional magazine about Saudi Arabia in honor of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's visit to the United States, the WSJ reports.

Why it matters: Last week Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon and owner of The Washington Post, accused the National Enquirer of blackmailing him to end an investigation into the source of intimate texts that the Enquirer published. Bezos insinuated Saudi Arabia might be the source of the leak.

The details:

  • In publishing the pro-Saudi magazine, AMI was looking to curry favor with the Saudis for financial support to acquire Time magazine, Sports Illustrated, Fortune and Money, per the WSJ.
  • Elkan Abramowitz, AMI's attorney, claims the magazine was published “for journalistic reasons,” rather than to achieve Saudi financial backing.
  • The DOJ found the company was not a foreign agent, per a letter that doesn't name AMI or the National Enquirer by name.

Go deeper: Attorney for David Pecker denies National Enquirer blackmailed Bezos

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