Jeff Bezos accused his girlfriend's brother of hiding ownership of a $2.5 million property to avoid paying his legal fees, court filings show

Michael Sanchez Jeff Bezos
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  • Jeff Bezos said in a court filing that Michael Sanchez tried to avoid paying a defamation judgment.

  • The filing accused Sanchez of transferring his California residence to a limited liability company.

  • Thursday's court filing marked the latest development in an ongoing legal battle.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos on Thursday said in a court filing that his girlfriend's brother tried to avoid reimbursing his legal fees by hiding his ownership of a $2.5 million property.

The brother, Michael Sanchez, unsuccessfully sued Bezos and his security chief, Gavin de Becker, for defamation. Sanchez was ordered to reimburse $254,404 in legal fees.

Bezos' filing in Kings County Superior Court said Sanchez used a shell company to hide his ownership of a West Hollywood home, which was up for sale. The filing amounted to "bullying," a lawyer for Sanchez told The Seattle Times.

"Earlier this week, Mr. Sanchez authorized his team to coordinate with Mr. Bezos' counsel concerning payment of the judgment," attorney Tom Warren said in a statement sent to the newspaper.

He added: "Had Mr. Bezos' attorneys bothered to reach out to Mr. Sanchez' counsel before filing a lawsuit against him, they would have known that to be the case."

The filing marked the latest development in an ongoing legal battle between Bezos and Sanchez.

The pair have been in a legal squabble since The National Enquirer in 2019 broke the news of Bezos' affair with Lauren Sanchez, a former TV anchor. The outlet published texts from the Amazon founder to Sanchez, and claimed in an email to Bezos that it had obtained nude photos as well.

Bezos published the email in a February 2019 blog post, and said The National Enquirer's then-parent company, American Media, was blackmailing him. At the time, de Becker told The Daily Beast that Michael Sanchez was "among the people we've been speaking with and looking at" as they tried to figure out who leaked the texts and photos.

Sanchez then filed a defamation suit against both Bezos and de Becker.

The suit was dismissed, and Bezos sought about $1.7 million to cover his legal fees.

Judge John Doyle of Los Angeles County Superior Court in March said Bezos would instead receive $218,385 for legal fees, plus an additional $36,000 for other costs.

Sanchez has not yet paid Bezos and de Becker, the Seattle Times reported on Friday.

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