Ex-Twitter Supervisor Convicted of Being Secret Agent for Saudi Arabia + Leaking Personal Consumer Info – #historical past #conspiracy
A federal jury yesterday convicted a former Media Partnerships Supervisor for the Center East/North Africa (MENA) area at Twitter of appearing as a overseas agent with out discover to the Lawyer Basic, conspiracy, wire fraud, worldwide cash laundering, and falsification of information in a federal investigation. The decision follows a two-week trial earlier than the Honorable Senior U.S. District Decide Edward M. Chen for the Northern District of California.
Based on courtroom paperwork and proof offered at trial, Ahmad Abouammo, 44, previously of Walnut Creek, California, and at present residing in Seattle, was employed at Twitter as Media Partnerships Supervisor for the MENA area. The proof at trial demonstrated that Abouammo took bribes in change for accessing, monitoring, and conveying the personal info of Twitter customers to officers of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Saudi Royal household. On this place, Abouammo was accountable for defending Twitter consumer info and owed Twitter his sincere providers. Twitter insurance policies additionally required Abouammo to reveal violations of Twitter’s safety insurance policies and report items from these with enterprise dealings with the corporate. When questioned in regards to the accesses of Twitter consumer info and his receipt of bribes, Abouammo then lied to FBI investigators and falsified a doc.
“Abouammo acted in secret as an agent of a overseas authorities focusing on dissenting voices,” mentioned Assistant Lawyer Basic Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Division’s Nationwide Safety Division. “This verdict reveals that the Justice Division is not going to tolerate any act of transnational repression and can maintain accountable those that support hostile regimes in extending their attain to our shores.”
“The Northern District of California is residence to lots of the most modern know-how firms on this planet,” mentioned U.S. Lawyer Stephanie M. Hinds for the Northern District of California. “One consequence of this luck is that firms on this district usually gather and retailer huge quantities of information from prospects and distributors. On this case, the federal government demonstrated, and the jury discovered, that Abouammo violated a sacred belief to maintain personal private info from Twitter’s prospects and bought personal buyer info to a overseas authorities. Abouammo’s choice to simply accept bribes in change for offering to a overseas authorities the protected info of shoppers may have untold damaging penalties. As this case demonstrates, we is not going to tolerate the misuse of private info or makes an attempt by overseas governments to recruit secret, malign brokers at American know-how firms. The place such misuse violates the federal regulation, offenders will likely be prosecuted.”
“Any makes an attempt by overseas governments to hijack free speech—in social media or any type—is not going to be tolerated right here in america. This case is proof of the FBI’s dedication to defend our constitutional proper,” mentioned Assistant Director Alan E. Kohler Jr. of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division. “Authoritarian governments depend on transnational repression to form the world of their favor and stifle dissent. We stay devoted to defending america from all threats overseas and home, which incorporates efforts by overseas governments to stalk, harass, or intimidate the folks inside our borders.”
“The FBI San Francisco division works tirelessly to stop efforts by overseas governments to suppress elementary human rights, together with the free speech of dissenting voices on U.S. social media platforms,” mentioned Particular Agent in Cost Sean Ragan of the FBI’s San Francisco Discipline Workplace. “This verdict reaffirms the FBI’s dedication to stopping transnational repression from any overseas authorities and sends a transparent message that justice will likely be dropped at those that threaten the freedoms of an open society.”
Based on the proof offered at trial, Abouammo started receiving bribes from an official of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as early as December 2014. The overseas official met with Abouammo in London and offered Abouammo with a luxurious Hublot watch. Abouammo later acknowledged the worth of the watch was $42,000 when he provided it on the market on Craigslist. After the assembly in London, Abouammo started repeatedly accessing personal details about a number of Twitter accounts, at the least one in all which was an influential account who was crucial of members of the Saudi Royal Household and the federal government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Abouammo additionally continued to speak with the official of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, together with concerning the influential crucial account.
Proof at trial additional confirmed that after Abouammo traveled to Lebanon in February 2015. A checking account was opened within the title of his father in Lebanon and Abouammo obtained entry to that checking account. The account then acquired $100,000 from the official of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Abouammo laundered the cash by sending it into america in small wire transfers with false descriptions. Abouammo left his job at Twitter in Might 2021 and, shortly thereafter, acquired one other $100,000 into the checking account in Lebanon accompanied by a be aware from the official apologizing for the delayed fee. Abouammo responded, partly, by asking whether or not the official needed any further info from Twitter.
In October 2018, FBI brokers interviewed Abouammo at his residence about his involvement within the scheme with officers of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Proof at trial demonstrated that Abouammo offered false info to the FBI investigators and falsified an bill for one of many funds he acquired from the overseas official.
Abouammo was arrested on Nov. 5, 2019. On July 28, 2020, a federal grand jury returned a superseding indictment charging him with appearing as an agent of a overseas authorities with out offering discover to the Lawyer Basic; conspiracy to commit wire fraud and sincere providers fraud; six counts of sincere providers fraud and wire fraud; worldwide cash laundering; and falsification of information in a federal investigation. The jury acquitted Abouammo of 5 of the counts pertaining to wire fraud and sincere providers fraud. The jury returned a verdict of responsible on all of the remaining counts….
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Colin Sampson and Eric Cheng for the Northern District of California and Trial Lawyer Christine Bonomo of the Nationwide Safety Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Management Part are prosecuting the case with the help of Beth Margen and Alycee Lane. The prosecution is the results of an investigation by the FBI.