The millionaire running Cambridge Analytics was once engaged to the Queen‘s cousin and has been nicknamed the ‘007 of big data’ for his work influencing minds around the globe.
Old Etonian ‘smoothie’ Nigel Oakes, 55, is one of the company’s four original founders who have links to royalty, the Tory party and the world’s most rich and powerful figures.
Mr Oakes was Lady Helen Windsor’s boyfriend in the 1980s and the couple are said to have appalled Her Majesty when Mr Oakes was caught being smuggled into St James’s Palace.
After they split Mr Oakes is said to have gate-crashed her 21st birthday party at Windsor Castle in 1985 only to be ejected by staff and was arrested for driving without insurance as the 700-guest party was in full swing.
Mr Oakes, now 55, started work running a mobile disco called ‘Traitor’ before working for advertising giants Saatchi and Saatchi before starting his own business with expertise in ‘behavioural influence’.
Alexander Nix, pictured at a polo event with promo girls, is one of four original founders of Cambridge Analytica’s parent company
Old Etonian ‘smoothie’ Nigel Oakes, 55, was Lady Helen Windsor’s boyfriend (pictured in 1985) and offended the Queen after Lady Helen smuggled him into St James’ Palace
Mr Oakes (left) met Alexander Nix after returning to London after working in Indonesia and they founded their company in 2005. Mr Nix, pictured last night, has being suspended after the Channel 4 investigation
Experts have described him as a ‘mysterious Etonian-smoothie’ whose access to personal data made him Donald Trump’s ‘weapon of mass persuasion’ during the 2016 presidential campaign.
One of the four original founders is wine millionaire Rollo Gabb (pictured)
Describing his work in a marketing journal 1992 he said: ‘We use the same techniques as Aristotle and Hitler. We appeal to people on an emotional level to get them to agree on a functional level’.
In 2000 he left Indonesia under a cloud after being accused of being involved in ‘psychological warfare’ on behalf of President Abdurrahman Wahid to help rescue his reputation the country.
He later admitted to the Sunday Times that the incident ended up looking like ‘something out of James Bond’.
After returning to London he began working with Alexander Nix, the under fire boss of Cambridge Analytica suspended last night.
They formed CA’s parent company SCL Group in 2005 with Nigel’s younger brother Alexander Oakes and Rollo Gabb, son of wine pioneer Roger Gabb.
Mr Nix is a well known polo lover whose outgoing nature and charm has persuaded clients have spent small fortunes with Cambridge Analytica.
His success has helped turning Nix into a seriously rich man feted by the tech industry.
The 42-year-old, who spoke alongside Facebook chiefs at last year’s ‘Online Marketing Rockstars’ conference in Hamburg, keeps his Savile Row suits at a vast home in London’s Holland Park, which he and his girlfriend, Norwegian shipping heiress Caroline Paus, bought for £4.5million in February 2012.
Polo champion Alexander Nix (far left) had worked as a financier in Mexico before moving into the data business
Cambridge Analytica is under fire over the Facebook scandal and Mr Nix (pictured on a poster stuck to its HQ) has admitted they will now lose a lot of money
He is said to have bragged about worked on 40 political campaigns in every corner of the world.
But the data firm suspended Mr Nix last night after recordings emerged of him making a series of controversial claims, including boasts that CA had a pivotal role in the election of Mr Trump.
The CA board said that Mr Nix had been suspended ‘with immediate effect, pending a full, independent investigation’.
It said comments by Mr Nix recorded in secret filming by Channel 4 News and ‘other allegations’ did not represent ‘the values or operations of the firm’ and that his suspension ‘reflects the seriousness with which we view this violation’.
His company Cambridge Analytica was bankrolled to the tune of $15billion by US hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer, a major Republican donor.
The Observer said it was headed at the time by Steve Bannon, a top Trump adviser until he was fired last summer.
Fellow director Rollo Gabb, 45, is the son of Roger Gabb, a wine millionaire who founded the Western Wines distribution company.
Footage emerged of a meeting in which Mr Nix appears to suggest that CA could compromise politicians by sending ‘beautiful’ Ukrainian women to candidates’ house
Storage crates were removed from Cambridge Analytica’s London headquarters (pictured) but it is not yet known who has ordered them to be taken away
In the early 2000s one in every 12 bottles of wine bought in the UK was sold via his business in supermarkets or on the high street.
His father donated £500,000 to the Tories in 2006 and is a well known Brexit supporter who signed a 5,000-signature strong letter to the Daily Telegraph with Mr Nix saying a vote to Leave will be good for British business.
Mr Gabb is an expert in fine wine, supplying it to chefs including Gordon Ramsay, and has also helped set up the FINO, Barrafina and Quo Vadis restaurants in London.
He also appears to have some eccentric ideas.
In 2013 he commissioned a 60ft trebuchet that hurled a car, a church organ and a giant petrol bomb to raise money for a church in Shropshire.
The novel idea came from Mr Gabb who said he wanted a catapult ever since he saw the medieval weapon being used 20 years ago.
Other shareholders include Lord Marland, a former Tory treasurer and trade envoy to David Cameron and Geoffrey Pattie. a former defence minister under Mrs Thatcher.
Its advisers also include a former rear admiral and an ex-Army colonel.
CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA FOUNDERS HAVE SET UP A NEW LONDON-BASED DATA COMPANY
Rebekah and Jennifer Mercer, daughters of the billionaire Robert Mercer (pictured with Rebekah) who funded Cambridge Analytica, are directors of the new company
The founders and funders of controversial election consultants Cambridge Analytica are behind a new company registered in London appearing to offer similar services.
Executives at Cambridge Analytica (CA) and parent company SCL Group registered Emerdata Limited as a data processing company last summer but they have since listed directors linked to private military contractors, secretive political meetings and the Trump administration.
Rebekah and Jennifer Mercer, daughters of the billionaire Robert Mercer who funded Cambridge Analytica, its parent company SCL Group and Donald Trump’s election campaign, were officially registered as directors of the company on Tuesday, the same day CA chief executive Alexander Nix was suspended from his role for comments made to journalists posing as prospective clients.
Channel 4 News broadcast footage on Monday which showed Mr Nix discussing entrapment, disinformation tactics and ‘fake IDs and websites’ to influence elections.
Mr Nix and Julian Wheatland, the chairman of SCL Group, are listed as directors of Emerdata.
Companies House records show Mr Wheatland registered Emerdata last August, alongside CA’s chief data officer Alexander Tayler. Dr Tayler has since left the board of Emerdata but was appointed chief executive of Cambridge Analytica in Nix’s place.
Cambridge Analytica is at the centre of a row over their use of Facebook data, accused of harvesting personal information from more than 50 million accounts and using it to target them with political advertising which plays on their hopes and fears.
‘If you’re collecting data on people and you’re profiling them, that gives you more insight that you can use to know how to segment the population, to give them messaging about issues that they care about, and language and imagery that they’re likely to engage with,’ Dr Tayler said about his work at CA, in footage secretly filmed by Channel 4 News.
‘We used that in America and we used that in Africa. That’s what we do as a company.’
Also named as a director of Emerdata is 66-year-old Hong Kong businessman Johnson Chun Shun Ko, a close associate of Erik Prince, founder of private military contractor Blackwater, which secured hundreds of millions in government contracts for private military operations during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Mr Ko serves as deputy chairman for Frontier Services Group Limited, a company which describes itself as a ‘Africa-focused security, aviation and logistics company’ and is led by Mr Prince, its chairman.
Mr Prince is the brother of Donald Trump’s secretary of education Betsy DeVos, and is alleged to have met an ally of Russian president Vladimir Putin in the Seychelles in January 2017, nine days before the Mr Trump’s inauguration. The Washington Post described the meeting as ‘an apparent effort to establish a back-channel line of communication’ between Moscow and the then president-elect.
Mr Prince and the White House deny he was representing the Trump transition team in any way. Mr Prince described the meeting as a chance encounter that had nothing to do with the president.
Two other directors with apparent links to the UK were also listed.
One, 29-year-old Ahmad Al-Khatib, was described as a citizen of the Seychelles living in England, who joined the company at the same time as Mr Ko.
The other was a 30-year-old woman with British citizenship living in Hong Kong called Cheng Peng.
Little is known about either Mr Al-Khatib’s or Ms Peng’s role or background.
Mr Nix, Mr Ko, Mr Al-Khatib and Ms Peng were all appointed directors of the company on January 23 2018. Companies House records also show there was an allotment of shares to the value of almost £2 million on the same day.
Mr Wheatland and Dr Tayler ceased to be people ‘with significant control’ on January 23, according to Companies House, although Mr Wheatland remains a director.
The company has been incorporated at two separate addresses: initially, at the offices of a law firm in central London and later an accountancy firm in Canary Wharf.