Former Cambridge Analytica boss banned from running companies

Alexander Nix, CEO of Cambridge Analytica, center, arrives at the offices of Cambridge Analytica in central London, Britain, March 20, 2018.

Henry Nicholls | Reuters

LONDON — Alexander Nix, the former chief executive of Cambridge Analytica, has been banned from running limited companies in Britain for seven years. 

The U.K. Insolvency Service announced the decision Thursday, saying Nix permitted companies to offer potentially unethical services to prospective clients. The 45-year-old, who lives in West London, has agreed not to take any holding company directorships from early next month.

Limited companies in the U.K. restrict the liability of the people that run them, and are similar to corporations in the U.S.

In addition to being a Cambridge Analytica director, the Eton-educated entrepreneur was also a director at parent company SCL Elections.

The Insolvency Service said the ban was issued on the basis that Nix caused or permitted SCL Elections to offer “unethical services” including bribery and honeypot stings, voter disengagement campaigns, the obtaining of information to discredit opponents and spreading information anonymously in political campaigns. 

Cambridge Analytica became infamous after it emerged the company had improperly gained access to the sensitive user information of as many as 87 million Facebook users without their knowledge or permission. The information was used by the Donald Trump campaign ahead of the 2016 U.S. presidential election. 

Nix was also recorded on hidden camera implying the research firm used manipulation and bribery to learn information on political candidates.

Mark Bruce, chief investigator for the Insolvency Service, said in a statement: “Following an extensive investigation, our conclusions were clear that SCL Elections had repeatedly offered shady political services to potential clients over a number of years.”

In a statement shared with CNBC, Nix pointed out that several investigations have concluded that he did not break any laws. 

“In relation to my undertakings to the Secretary of State, I have made no admission of wrongdoing and importantly the Government did not seek to press that I had breached any laws,” he said. 

Nix added: “After two and a half years of investigations, based on a litany of false allegations originated by a disgruntled former employee, I decided to bring this chapter to a close and avoid an unnecessary lengthy and expensive court case.”

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