Ex-Twitter employee on trial for spying for Saudi Arabia

Ex-Twitter employee on trial for spying for Saudi Arabia

A jury in California must judge the fate of a former Twitter employee, accused by US justice of extracting personal data from the platform for the benefit of Saudi Arabia, which sought to find out the identity of critics of the system. Ahmed Abouammo is accused of selling sensitive data to Saudi Arabia, in particular detailed information related to anonymous accounts.

The defense, before the jury retired for deliberation, replied that he was just doing his job, simply accepting some gifts.

“The evidence showed that for the money and when he thought he was doing it out of sight, the defendant sold his place to a relative. [de la famille royale saoudienne] »in front of the jury, the prosecution, by voice Federal Prosecutor Colin Sampson.

Ahmed Abouammo was arrested in Seattle, Washington in November 2021 on suspicion of working illegally for a foreign government. He and another Twitter employee, Ali Alzabarah, were accused that Riyadh contacted them between the end of 2014 and the beginning of 2015 in order to transfer only internally accessible user data (email addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth…) which could allow Saudi Arabia to By getting to know the hitherto unknown critics on the social network.

$100,000 and $40,000 watch received

If Mr. Abouammo left Twitter in 2015, Ali Alzabarah, a Saudi, would, for his part, have left the United States. For Angela Chuang, Ahmed Abouammo’s lawyer, the latter was tried in place of Mr. Alzabarah. ” and this is [la] Error [de la justice américaine, qui] Let Mr. Alzabarah flee the country under FBI surveillance [la police fédérale] ! »Launched.

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While acknowledging that there could have been a Saudi operation seven years ago to obtain information on dissidents from Twitter employees, the lawyer asserts that the prosecution did not prove that his client was one of them. “It is clear that the defendants the government was looking for are not there.”Angela Chuang said. mocked the procedure that ends like a ‘HR investigation disguised as federal court’.

His client, in fact, is accused by Twitter of disrespecting the company’s rules by not authorizing his superiors to receive $100,000 (98,000 euros) and a watch worth over $40,000 from someone close to the Saudi monarchy. . she was “pocket money”Angela Chuang told jurors that the Saudis who used to get rich.

The world with AFP

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