Cambridge Analytica files for Chapter 7 bankruptcy

A view of 597 Park Avenue, where the New York City office of Cambridge Analytica is, on May 2, 2018 in New York City.
A view of 597 Park Avenue, where the New York City office of Cambridge Analytica is, on May 2, 2018 in New York City.PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (AFP) -  Cambridge Analytica, the firm at the centre of this year's Facebook privacy row, filed for voluntary Chapter 7 bankruptcy in a New York court late on Thursday (May 17).

The British firm, whose attorney filed  in the Southern District of New York late Wednesday, 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, seen by AFP, listed Cambridge Analytica LLC’s estimated assets in the range of US$100,001 and US$500,000, with estimated liabilities between US$1 million and US$10 million.  

Earlier this month, the company – – which worked on Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign – claimed its business had been ruined by “numerous unfounded accusations” which rendered operating the business “no longer viable.” 

The firm became embroiled in scandal in March when 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 – claims it denies.  

Soon after, CA chief executive Alexander Nix was suspended after he was filmed by undercover reporters bragging about ways to win political campaigns, including through blackmail and honey traps.  

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.  

This week, the New York Times reported the US Justice Department and the FBI are investigating CA – although it was unclear if the probe was linked to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s into Trump campaign collusion with Russia. 

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