A former manager at Twitter, convicted of spying for Saudi Arabia, was sentenced to 3.5 years in prison on Wednesday, U.S. prosecutors said.
Ahmad Abouammo, who provided a Saudi official with user information in exchange for a $42,000 watch and a pair of $100,000 wire transfers, received 3.5 years in prison despite prosecutors originally pushing for seven years, according to Reuters. Abouammo was found guilty of spying and money laundering on behalf of the Saudi Arabian government, and using his position at Twitter to acquire information about Twitter users for the Saudi Royal Family in August.
The max sentencing was up to “decades” in prison, but prosecutors were pushing for seven years to “deter others in the technology and social media industry from selling out the data of vulnerable users,” according to Reuters. Abouammo’s attorneys requested a probationary sentence at his home in Seattle with no prison time.
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During the August trial, prosecutor Eric Cheng said “they paid for a mole” during his closing argument, noting that Abouammo was paid in bribes three times his salary. “We all know that kind of money is not for nothing,” he said.
Abuoammo managed media for high-profile users in the Middle East and North Africa for Twitter. Abuoammo was arrested in 2019 in Seattle, but was set free on bail until the trial in San Francisco.
Abuoammo’s attorneys noted that he was dealing with financial trouble while at Twitter, saying that he had been “struggling to pay for and deal with serious upheavals in his sister’s life,” which included medical care for her newborn daughter, according to Reuters.
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