Ex-Twitter worker is found guilty of spying for Saudi Arabia and releasing private user information of people who have been publicly critical of the country in exchange for hundreds of thousands of dollars
A former Twitter employee, Ahmad Abouammo, was found guilty of spying for Saudi Arabia and releasing private user information of those who publicly criticized the country in exchange for large sums of money.
Abouammo, 44, was accused of using his position as an engineer at Twitter to access confidential data about users, their email addresses, phone numbers and IP addresses that can give up their location.
He then passed that information on to a Saudi government official in exchange for a luxury watch and hundreds of thousands of dollars, prosecutors claimed.
An 11-person jury found Abouammo guilty of spying, money laundering, falsification of records and one count of wire fraud on Tuesday. He was found innocent on five other counts of wire fraud, The Wall Street Journal reported.
He is scheduled to return to court Wednesday for a hearing
Former Twitter employee Ahmad Abouammo was found guilty of spying for Saudi Arabia and releasing private user information of those who publicly criticized the country in exchange for large sums of money. He is pictured leaving Santa Rita jail in Dublin, California in Nov. 2019
Abouammo, a dual US and Lebanese citizen, worked for the social media platform from 2013 to 2015. He managed media partnerships with high-profile users in the Middle East and North Africa.
Prosecutors claimed the father-of-three was recruited into the spying scheme in 2014 by Bader Binasaker, an aide to then-Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The pair met when Binasaker was touring Twitter’s headquarters in San Francisco, California and forged a relationship shortly thereafter.
In December, approximately six months later, Abouammo met with Binasaker in London while on a work trip. After the trip he flew back to the US with a watch valued at more than $40,000, investigators claimed.
Officials say a week after the England trip he began accessing data from the anonymously run account ‘mujtahidd.’
Binasaker wanted the account suspended, however it remains active today.