“In this case, the government has demonstrated, and the jury has found, that Abouammo violated a sacred obligation to keep Twitter customers’ personal information private and sold private customer information to a foreign government,” he said. she declared.
“Abouammo’s decision to accept bribes in exchange for providing a foreign government with protected customer information could have untold adverse consequences.”
Prosecutors said the recipient of the private information is known to target people believed to be opponents.
“Abouammo acted in secret as an agent of a foreign government targeting dissenting voices,” said Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division. “This verdict shows that the Department of Justice will not tolerate any act of transnational repression and will hold accountable those who help hostile regimes extend their hold on our shores.”
The department’s announcement reported that according to evidence presented at trial, Abouammo began receiving bribes from a Kingdom of Saudi Arabia official as early as December 2014, including one in 2015 for $100,000 deposited on a bank account in his father’s name in Lebanon.
In October 2018, FBI agents questioned Abouammo at his residence about his involvement in the scheme with officials from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Evidence at trial demonstrated that Abouammo provided false information to FBI investigators and falsified an invoice for one of the payments he received from the foreign agent.
Abouammo was arrested on November 5, 2019, but did not quit his job at Twitter until May 2021. Shortly after, he received an additional $100,000 in his bank account in Lebanon.
Abouammo faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for acting as an agent of a foreign government and 20 years in prison for each of the other counts. Additionally, each count carries a $250,000 fine and additional periods of supervised release after the prison sentence.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Colin Sampson and Eric Cheng for the Northern District of California and Attorney Christine Bonomo of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Controls Section are pursuing the case with Beth’s help. Margen and Alycee Lane. The charge is the result of an FBI investigation.