N.J. Presses National Enquirer's Hedge Fund Backer After Bezos Blackmail Accusation

New Jersey, which invests employee pensions in the fund, wants assurance that the publisher is obeying "all applicable laws."

The state of New Jersey is demanding assurances from a hedge-fund backer of the National Enquirer in the wake of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezosblackmail charge against the supermarket tabloid.

The state wants to make certain that Chatham Asset Management — a New Jersey-based hedge fund that’s the majority owner of Enquirer parent American Media Inc. — is investing in businesses that “follow all applicable laws,” Bloomberg reported Tuesday. New Jersey’s Division of Investment, which manages pension funds for state employees, has investments in two funds run by Chatham.

Bezos, the world’s richest person, last week accused American Media, the National Enquirer, and AMI CEO David Pecker of blackmail and extortion. He said Pecker intermediaries threatened to publish embarrassing explicit photos of him if he didn’t intervene in an investigation into AMI by The Washington Post, which Bezos owns.

AMI has claimed it did nothing illegal. Federal authorities are reportedly investigating Bezos’ accusation.

“After being made aware of media reports alleging questionable business practices by AMI,” the New Jersey Division of Investment contacted Chatham, “reminding them of their responsibilities as fiduciary for the funds’ limited partners,” Jennifer Sciortino, a spokeswoman for the state treasurer, said in an email to Bloomberg.

The state “expects that Chatham will take whatever steps are necessary to protect its investors from undue risks,” Sciortino added. 

Chatham officials have insisted that the company has no involvement in the National Enquirer’s editorial process, according to Bloomberg.

Pecker is already in trouble with authorities because of his role in another investigation. He has admitted to participating in a “catch and kill” scheme during the 2016 presidential campaign to purchase and bury stories of women who had claimed to have had affairs with Donald Trump