An ex-Twitter employee was found guilty of spying for Saudi Arabia in exchange for a $20,000 watch and a $300,000 payment

An ex-Twitter employee was found guilty of spying for Saudi Arabia in exchange for a $20,000 watch and a $300,000 payment
Ahmad Abouammo, a former Twitter Inc employee accused of spying for Saudi Arabia, leaves Santa Rita jail after being freed pending trial, in Dublin, California, U.S. November 21, 2019.REUTERS/Kate Munsch
  • An ex-Twitter employee was found guilty this week of spying for Saudi Arabia.
  • Ahmad Abouammo was charged with giving personal information of Twitter users critical of Saudi to the Kingdom.

One of two ex-Twitter employees charged with spying on users on behalf of Saudi Arabia has been officially convicted.

A federal court in California found Ahmad Abouammo, who has both American and Lebanese citizenship, guilty of compiling the personal Twitter information of anonymous users that spoke critically of the Saudi government and handing the data to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's close aide.

In exchange, the court found that the close aide gave Abouammo a $20,000 luxury watch and deposited $300,000 to a Lebanese account set up in his father's name.

He was also found guilty of charges including money laundering, conspiracy to commit wired fraud, and falsifying records. The other ex-Twitter employee charged in 2019, Ali Alzabarah, fled to Saudi Arabia to escape being tried, per TechCrunch.

A federal criminal complaint filed by the US Justice Department was unsealed in late 2019 alleging the crime, and Abouammo was arrested in early November of that year. He was a media partnerships manager at Twitter from 2014 to 2015, per the complaint.


Abouammo faced up to 20 years in prison, according to Bloomberg.

The verdict shuts the door on what turned out to be a wild case of data from a US-based tech platform being used to aid the Saudi royal family.

American ties with the government remain genial, despite the Saudis' 2018 killing of Washington Post journalist and Virginia resident Jamal Khashoggi, who regularly wrote critically of the Kingdom.

President Joe Biden said in July that Salman denied that he was personally responsible for Khashoggi's murder. Biden said he pushed back and told Salman that he indeed was.