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Monday 13 July 2020

Cambridge Analytica files for bankruptcy in US court

British political consulting group Cambridge Analytica filed for voluntary Chapter 7 bankruptcy in the Southern District of New York, court documents showed

New York: Cambridge Analytica, the political consultancy at the centre of Facebook Inc’s privacy scandal, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in the United States.

Cambridge Analytica and its British parent SCL Elections said earlier this month that they would shut down immediately and begin bankruptcy proceedings after suffering a sharp drop in business.

The firm became embroiled in scandal in March when a former analyst, 28-year-old Canadian Christopher Wylie, revealed it had used a Facebook personality prediction app to hijack up to 87 million Facebook users’ data.

The petition to file bankruptcy was submitted at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court Southern District of New York and was signed on behalf of Cambridge Analytica’s board by Rebekah and Jennifer Mercer, daughters of billionaire Robert Mercer.

The firm announced early May that it would close and file for bankruptcy in Britain and the United States after failing to recover from the Facebook data scandal.

The documents listed Cambridge Analytica LLC’s estimated assets in the range of  $100,001 and $500,000, with estimated liabilities between $1 million and $10 million.

London-based Cambridge Analytica was created in 2013 initially with a focus on US elections, with $15 million in backing from Mercer and a name chosen by former Trump White House adviser Steve Bannon.

Facebook has faced multiple investigations in the United States and Europe over its handling of personal data of users, hurting shares of the Mark Zuckerberg-led company.

“Despite Cambridge Analytica’s unwavering confidence that its employees have acted ethically and lawfully… the siege of media coverage has driven away virtually all of the company’s customers and suppliers,” the company said in a statement upon announcing its closure.

Meanwhile, another whistleblower said Britons’ personal data may have been misused by a pro-Brexit campaign ahead of the 2016 referendum in which Britain voted to leave the European Union.

Wylie has also since told a Senate panel on interference in the 2016 US election that CA had used Russian researchers and shared data with companies linked to Russian intelligence.

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