Two Saudi Arabian women living in the United States have described how an anonymous Instagram user attempted to gain their trust, a week after the Saudi Arabian man who prosecutors say ran the account was arrested in Virginia.

Iran PressAmerica: One of the women said the account @samar16490 offered to give the documents that would help her in a multi-million dollar lawsuit a fellow Saudi Arabian citizen has brought against her - but only if they met in person.

A second woman said the same account sent her a photo of her grandfather in an effort, she believes, to coax her into disclosing where she was living.

Their stories provide new and chilling details about a campaign of harassment that was broadly outlined in a complaint unsealed last week in a New York federal court. 

In that complaint, prosecutors say Ibrahim Alhussayen, 42, who was studying at a Mississippi university on a scholarship funded by the Saudi Royal Court and Saudi Cultural Mission, used the @samar16490 Instagram account to harass Saudi Arabian citizens in the US and Canada who were known critics of their government. Most of the victims are women.

Alhussayen told FBI agents in an interview last year that he worked as an administrative adviser and consultant for the Saudi Royal Court, which is listed as his employer on his student visa, until 2012, but that he was no longer working for the Saudi government at that time.

During several months of the harassment, the complaint said, he was in regular contact with an employee of the Saudi General Sports Authority, headed by Turki al-Sheikh, a close adviser to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. 

This is the latest episode of Saudi repression of dissidents abroad, which has flourished under Mohammed bin Salman and has been empowered by an army of trolls on social media and military-grade spyware. 

The US intelligence community has assessed that Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who had been a target of online abuse and whose close contacts were surveilled with spyware, was murdered in the kingdom's Istanbul consulate in 2018 by Saudi agents, in an operation approved by the crown prince.

In 2019, the Justice Department charged two former Twitter employees with spying after they obtained the details of 6,000 users and shared them with Saudi officials in exchange for money.

According to the complaint, US border enforcement officials found images of Khashoggi as well as screenshots of two of the slain journalist's tweets on Alhussayen's mobile phone during an inspection at Dulles International Airport this January.

The complaint underlines the US intelligence community's assessment of the Saudi government's role in Khashoggi's capture and killing by Saudi agents "as part of a series of 'dissident suppression operations' within the kingdom and abroad".