Former Twitter Employee Convicted of Charges Related to Spying for Saudis

SAN FRANCISCO — A former Twitter worker was convicted on Tuesday by a jury in federal court docket of six fees associated to accusations that he spied on the corporate’s customers for Saudi Arabia.

While at Twitter, Ahmad Abouammo, 44, managed media partnerships within the Middle East and North Africa. He developed relationships with outstanding people within the area, receiving a whole bunch of 1000’s of {dollars} and a luxurious watch from a high adviser to Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman. In return, prosecutors mentioned, he shared the non-public person data of dissidents with Saudi officers.

The jury convicted Mr. Abouammo of two counts of wire fraud or conspiracy to commit wire fraud, two counts of cash laundering, one rely of falsifying information and one rely of appearing as an agent of a overseas authorities with out correctly disclosing that work. It discovered Mr. Abouammo not responsible on 5 counts of wire fraud or conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Mr. Abouammo’s trial concluded on Thursday, and the jury of six males and 5 girls took 17 hours to attain a verdict.

Mr. Abouammo was arrested in 2019. Ali Alzabarah, one other former Twitter worker who was additionally charged within the scheme, fled the nation earlier than he might be arrested. Several of the fees of which Mr. Abouammo was acquitted had been associated to communications between Mr. Alzabarah and Saudi officers, suggesting that the jury was not satisfied that Mr. Abouammo influenced his co-worker’s actions.

Prosecutors described Mr. Abouammo as a mole who offered his entry to private person data to Saudi Arabia. Saudi representatives paid Mr. Abouammo to purchase and share details about political dissidents and different Twitter customers, prosecutors mentioned.

“Power. Greed. Lies. You heard this story, told by the evidence, here in this courtroom,” mentioned Eric Cheng, an assistant U.S. lawyer, throughout closing statements.

Lawyers for Mr. Abouammo described him as merely a Twitter worker who had been doing his job. Prosecutors had not linked Mr. Abouammo’s accessing data and receiving funds with precise sharing of that data, his legal professionals mentioned.

“Even if you think Mr. Abouammo possibly or probably did it, you must vote not guilty,” mentioned Angela Chuang, a federal public defender who represents Mr. Abouammo and a lead lawyer within the case, throughout closing statements.

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