A former Twitter employee has been convicted associated with spying for the Saudi federal government.
Ahmad Abouammo, a dual Lebanese-US national, was a media relationship manager for Twitter’s Center East region. Abouammo quit Twitter in 2015, joining Amazon, according to court documents.
He was billed in 2019 of acting as an agent for Saudi Arabia without registering with all the US government, among other things.
After a two-and-a-half several weeks of trial at a San Francisco federal court, Abouammo has been found guilty on 6 charges on Tuesday, including acting as an illegal realtor of a foreign government, cash laundering and fraud, according to a copy of the judgement.
Jurors acquitted him on another 5 charges involving wire scams.
US Lawyer Stephanie Hinds said within a statement that “ the government demonstrated, and the jury discovered, that Abouammo violated the sacred trust to keep private personal information from Twitter’s customers and sold private customer information to a foreign federal government. ”
The thing that was Abouammo’s case?
The FBI said in the 2019 complaint that Abouammo and a Saudi citizen, Ali Alzabarah, a former engineer from Twitter, used their jobs within the company to access private user data.
The FBI said each accessed personal data including emails, phone numbers and IP addresses, which can be used to identify a person’s location.
Another Saudi man, Ahmed Al-Mutairi, with close ties to the Saudi royal loved ones, allegedly acted as an intermediary, according to the FBI.
The complaint alleged they will accessed personal data of over 6, 000 Tweets accounts.
Saudi law enforcement officials then posted emergency disclosure requests — or requests for disclosure of non-public information about Tweets users — for at least 33 of those accounts surveilled.
What happened at the trial?
Prosecutors said Bader Al-Asaker, a close adviser to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed rubbish bin Salman, recruited Abouammo in order to dig up personal information on Saudi dissidents.
Someone said Abouammo received at least $300, 000 (roughly € 290, 000) and a luxury watch worth around $20, 500, and that he concealed that money by depositing this in a relative’s account in Lebanon and then having this wired to his own banking account in the US.
Abouammo’s defense team argued which he had accepted gifts pertaining to doing his job, yet that there was insufficient proof of him breaking the law.
Defense attorney Angela Chuang also disputed the amount of money Abouammo received, saying this individual received around $100, 500 from someone close to the Saudi crown prince.
Chuang downplayed the significance of a luxury watch, saying it amounted to “ wallet change” in Saudi lifestyle, where giving lavish provides was not out of the ordinary.
The FBI has Al-Mutairi and Alzabarah on their wished list. Alzabarah left the united states before being charged.
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