ALEXANDER Nix, the suspended CEO of disgraced data firm Cambridge Analytica, touted for business during Scotland’s 2014 referendum on independence, a whistleblower told MPs yesterday.

Christopher Wylie, appearing in front of Westminster’s Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee said Nix, while working for Cambridge Analytica’s parent group, SCL, had “pitched for work in relation to the Scottish independence referendum”.

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Last week, Nix was suspended from his job after footage captured by a Channel 4 News undercover reporter caught him saying his firm used bribes and paid sex workers to entrap politicians.

Tech specialist Wylie, answering a question from the SNP’s Brendan O’Hara, admitted that he didn’t know who Nix was pitching to, and that he was “very fuzzy on the details on what side that was for and what the actual pitch was”.

He also didn’t believe the application had been successful.

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Yesterday, none of the big players in the referendum were owning up to it.

That, however, wasn’t even one of the most shocking revelations in what was probably one of the most explosive parliamentary committee evidence sessions in recent times.

During the nearly four-hour long session, Wylie accused Brexiteers of “money laundering” as a way to break electoral law, and of employing the services of a company of former Israeli secret service agents who used violence as a legitimate campaign tool.

As a select committee witness, Wylie was afforded parliamentary privilege, which allowed him to speak freely, without worrying about being dragged through the courts on a defamation charge.

He told MPs there was a “common plan” between different Brexit-backing campaigns, all of which used companies linked to Cambridge Analytica, effectively allowing them to get round the strict spending limits applied by the Electoral Commission.

“I am absolutely convinced there was a common plan and common purpose with Vote Leave, [pro-Brexit youth group] BeLeave, the DUP and Veterans for Britain,” Wylie said.

The DUP were given a £435,000 donation during the referendum by a shadowy East Renfrewshiregroup known as the Constitutional Research Council, led by Richard Cook, a former vice chair of the Scottish Tories. 

All four groups had employed the services of AggregateIQ (AIQ), a Canadian company that Wylie said was “set up and worked within the auspices of Cambridge Analytica [and] inherited the company culture of total disregard for the law”.

But at the point it was employed by the groups, AIQ barely existed at all – it didn’t even have a website.

Wylie said: “All of these companies somehow, for some reason, all decided to use AggregateIQ as their primary service provider, when Agg-regateIQ did not have any public presence, no media, no website. The only way you could find them on the internet was if you went to SCL’s website and called up SCL Canada.

“So, the first question that I have is why? Why is it that all of a sudden this company, that has never worked on anything but Cambridge Analytica projects, that had no public presence, somehow became the primary service provider to all of these supposedly independent and different campaign groups?

“When you look at the cumulation of evidence, I think it would be completely unreasonable to come to any other conclusion: this must be co-ordination, this must be a common purpose plan.”

Wylie said he spoke to senior employees at AggregateIQ who had even admitted criminality. He said: “I went and actually spoke with Aggregate, who were very, very pleased with themselves with how that project went – understandably, they won – and said, ‘can you show me what it was you were doing, how can you untease it, what did you do?.

“They conceded to me – and this is a verbatim quote, and I stand by it, I remember Jeff Sylvester [the chief operating officer of AggregateIQ] telling me this: it was, quote, ‘totally illegal’.

“AggregateIQ was just used as a proxy money-laundering vehicle. What [Vote Leave mastermind] Dom Cummings did is he just went round and found places he could launder money through to give it to AIQ so they could overspend. And that is my genuinely held belief.

Wylie said that AIQ had also worked on a project which involved sharing material hacked from the computer of the current president of Nigeria during a campaign in 2015.

Wylie said: “The company utilised the services of an Israeli private intelligence firm. That firm is Black Cube, that’s not been reported, although Channel 4 has undercover footage that is hasn’t been able to put into the public domain of Alexander Nix talking about the relationship with Black Cube.

“Black Cube on the Nigeria project was engaged to hack the now-president of Nigeria, [Muhammadu] Buhari, to get access to his medical records and private emails. AIQ worked on that project. So AggregateIQ was handed material in Nigeria from Cambridge Analytica to distribute online. So that’s distribution of kompromat and that’s also distribution of incredibly threatening and violent video content, which I’ve also passed on to the committee.

“The videos, which AIQ distributed in Nigeria with the sole intent of intimidating voters, included content where people were being dismembered, where people were having their throats cut and bled to death in a ditch, they were being burned alive. There is incredibly anti-Islamic and threatening messages portraying Muslims as violent.

“So you’ve got AggregateIQ, which received 40 per cent of Vote Leaves funding, also working on projects that involved hacked material and kompromat [compromising material] and distributing violent videos of people being bled to death, and this is the company that played an incredibly pivotal role in politics here.”

In a statement issued after the hearing, Black Cube said it has always operated within the law.

It said: “While we are flattered that we are seemingly being connected with every international incident that occurs, we will state that Chris Wylie’s testimony is a flagrant lie.

“We categorically declare that neither Black Cube, nor any of its affiliates and subsidiaries, have ever worked for, or engaged with, SCL, Cambridge Analytica, or any of their affiliates and subsidiaries. Black Cube has never operated in Nigeria nor has it worked on any project connected to Nigeria, and none of its employees have ever set foot in Nigeria.”

Cummings called Wylie a “fantasist”.

Wylie also revealed his predecessor died mysteriously in a Kenyan hotel room. He said Dan Muresan was working for President Uhuru Kenyatta’s re-election campaign when he was found dead in 2012.

Wylie said he had heard talk that Kenyan police had been bribed not to enter the hotel room for 24 hours in a bid to cover up the possible murder.