X, formerly known as Twitter, is “unfit” to hold the state money licenses it’s seeking nationwide, lawyers involved in a lawsuit against the company wrote in an open letter to the attorneys general and banking commissioners of all 50 U.S. states this month.
The Sept. 8 letter, obtained by the British news outlet The Guardian, was written by New York City law firm Walden Macht & Haran. The firm represents Abdulrahman Al-Sadhan, a man who was allegedly arrested, tortured and imprisoned in Riyadh by the government of Saudi Arabia after Twitter employees leaked his confidential user data. Al-Sadhan and his sister sued the social media platform in the U.S. District Court for Northern California in May.
“We write to offer relevant information, which counsels in favor of heavy scrutiny of Twitter’s general fitness and character to hold such licenses,” the Walden Macht & Haran attorneys wrote in the letter this month. “More broadly, we request that state Attorneys General investigate Twitter’s conduct, as alleged in our complaint.”
“The complaint raises serious questions about Twitter’s misuse of confidential user data and its relationship to Saudi Arabia,” Jim Walden, a partner at Walden Macht & Haran, said in an email to Payments Dive. “This same concern is relevant to customer banking and payment information.”
As a result, Walden urged the states to be cautious in evaluating X’s applications. “The State Attorneys General and the state Banking Commissioners should consider this carefully before they decide whether X Corp is fit to expand business in their states, including through banking licenses,” he said in the email.
State officials should carefully consider whether X’s past actions point to a corporate culture that would put user’s sensitive financial data at risk, he explained.
The letter alleges that “a financially troubled Twitter essentially sold its corporate soul to secure [Saudi Arabia’s] investment in Twitter.”
Officials in eight states, including Arizona, Georgia, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, have granted X money licenses or other credentials this year. The states did not immediately respond when asked for comment on the letter.
X responded to a request for comment on the allegations in the letter with an email saying, “Busy now, please check back later.”