Twitter account for MBS aide tied to Saudi spying plot is still online with 2M followers

A prime Saudi authorities official maintains an energetic, verified Twitter account with greater than 2 million followers even after he allegedly recruited one of many social media firm’s staff to take part in a spying scheme.

The verified account for Bader al-Asaker, an in depth aide to Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was still online Thursday – two days after a US jury convicted ex-Twitter worker Ahmad Abouammo of spying for the Saudi authorities.

Abouammo, a twin US-Lebanese citizen who labored as a media partnerships supervisor for Twitter, was discovered responsible on allegations that he supplied the Saudis in 2015 with confidential info on suspected dissidents beneath scrutiny for bashing the federal government by way of nameless accounts.

Whereas he was not charged within the scheme, Asaker was alleged to have performed a key function. Prosecutors mentioned Asaker recruited the ex-Twitter employee and bribed him with an costly watch and $300,000 in wire transfers in trade for the delicate info.

In accordance to the indictment, Asaker first made contact with Abouammo in 2014, when the latter helped to prepare a tour of Twitter headquarters in San Francisco for the MBS aide and different Saudi authorities officers.

Bader Al Asaker’s account has greater than 2 million followers.

The Guardian was first to report on the account.

Asaker commonly tweets about Saudi authorities occasions and actions on the account. Latest posts embody pictures from the crown prince’s assembly with French President Emmanuel Macron and tributes to the Saudi army.

Abouammo was convicted on six felony counts, together with appearing as an agent of Saudi Arabia and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. He faces up to 20 years in jail. Abouammo’s protection staff argued that he was simply fulfilling the capabilities of his job.

Two others named as defendants within the lawsuit, Saudi residents Ali Alzabarah and Ahmed Almutairi, stay at massive.

Bader Al-Asaker
Bader Al-Asaker is a prime aide to the Saudi crown prince.

Alzabarah, one other former Twitter worker, was additionally charged with offering confidential info from Twitter to Asaker concerning people who had been publicly essential of the Saudi regime.

Throughout the trial, US prosecutors alleged that Asaker approached Abouammo particularly to develop him as “an operative, a mole” for the Saudi authorities, in accordance to Bloomberg. The feds described Asaker because the crown prince’s “right hand man.”

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has confronted scrutiny over the nation’s human rights file.
Balkis Press/ABACA/Shutterstock

The Saudi authorities has confronted widespread scrutiny and criticism over its human rights file, most notably over its function within the assassination of Washington Put up columnist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.

The Put up has reached out to Twitter for remark.

In December 2019, Twitter suspended accounts that had been linked “to a significant state-backed information operation” out of Saudi Arabia in connection to the spying incident.

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