Former Cambridge Analytica chief Alexander Nix ducks fresh grilling

Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix arriving at the company's offices in central London on March 20, 2018. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (AFP) - Former Cambridge Analytica (CA) boss Alexander Nix has refused to appear for a second grilling by British lawmakers, the MPs' scrutiny panel investigating him said on Tuesday (April 17).

The ex-CA chief executive was due to appear on Wednesday before Parliament's culture, media and sport committee over the British political consultancy firm's highly controversial work.

They wanted to probe inconsistencies in the testimony he gave before the committee on Feb 27.

But Nix told them he could not appear, citing Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham's ongoing investigation into claims that CA may have illegally harvested Facebook data for political ends.

"We do not accept Mr Nix's reason for not appearing in a public session before the committee," said Damian Collins, who chairs the committee.

"We have taken advice and he is not been charged with any criminal offence and there is no active legal proceedings, and we plan to raise this with the information commissioner when we meet her this week.

"There is therefore no legal reason why Mr Nix cannot appear. The committee is minded to issue a formal summons for him to appear on a named day in the very near future. We'll make a further statement about this next week."

CA suspended Nix, 42, on March 20 after recordings emerged of him boasting that the firm played an expansive role in US President Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign, doing all of its research, analytics as well as digital and television campaigns.

In undercover filming captured by Channel 4 television, he is also seen boasting about entrapping politicians and secretly operating in elections around the world through shadowy front companies.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.