Christopher Wylie, the Cambridge Analytica whistleblower who claims that the project he led resulted in the company’s unethical use of Facebook data to help elect Donald Trump, made a series of shocking claims in front of a British parliamentary committee on Monday. Among allegations of “anti-Islamic” campaigns and hacking, Wylie said that his predecessor may have been “poisoned” after a “deal went sour.”
In his testimony, Wylie said that CA’s elections chief Dan Muresan was found dead in a hotel room in Kenya in 2012 while working with President Uhuru Kenyatta’s re-election campaign. Wylie said he’d heard Muresan was murdered.
“Cambridge Analytica was working with Kenyan politicians, but because in a lot of African countries if a deal goes wrong you pay for it,” said Wylie, the Daily Mail reports.
“Dan was my predecessor….what I heard was that he was working on some kind of deal of some sort — I’m not sure what,” he said. “The deal went sour. People suspected he was poisoned in his hotel room. I also heard that the police had got bribed not to enter the hotel room for 24 hours. That is what I was told — I was not there so I speak to the veracity of it.”
Muresan was the son of Romania’s former Agriculture Minister Avram Muresan. Shortly after he died, Romania’s Foreign Ministry described him as working for a “telecommunications company”; his presence in Kenyan territory, the ministry told the Bucharest Herald, had not been registered yet with the Romanian diplomatic mission. “The same source shows that after the police arrived, the body was taken by an undertaker company for an autopsy,” the Herald reported.
Among other scandalous claims, Wylie told MPs that the SLC, the parent company of CA, was involved in the 2015 Nigerian election, allegedly distributing compromising material and hacking information from presidential candidate Muhammadu Buhari. Wylie described the organization as “incredibly anti-Islamic,” producing “threatening” messages “portraying Muslims as violent.”
Wylie’s allegations that Cambridge Analytica accessed Facebook data to create a database of millions of user profiles for targeted campaign — a tactic used by the Obama campaign in 2012 to much praise from the media — created a media firestorm. Subsequent reports have indicated that the portrayal of CA’s role in the Trump campaign was overblown and the company maintains that the data collected under Wylie was not used after Facebook asked them to destroy it.