This has been a big weekend for news on the data firm that claimed to help get Donald Trump elected — Cambridge Analytica and the U.K. parent company SCL Group Limited. And now there’s one more twist, connecting SCL and Cambridge Analytica to someone else grabbing recent headlines, Erik Prince.
Filings on U.K. Companies House show that the two top executives at Cambridge Analytica are Directors of a company along with one of Erik Princes’ closest business partners.
On August 11, 2017, the company Emerdata Limited was incorporated in the U.K., and listed SCL Chairman Julian Wheatland as Director and 25–50% owner, and Cambridge Analytica Chief Data Officer, Alexander Tayler, was also listed as 25–50% owner. Both have since been removed as significant owners, but Wheatland is listed as an active Director, along with Alexander Nix, the Chief Executive of Cambridge Analytica.
Emerdata was orignally located at 16 Great Queen Street London, the address for Fladgate LLP, which is listed in ICIJ’s Panama Papers database. But on February 18, 2018, Emerdata changed it’s address to Pkf Littlejohn 1 Westferry Circus Canary Wharf London, the same address for SCL Group.
A few days ago the filings for Emerdata were updated, and noted three new Directors, including, Mr Ahmad Ashraf Hosny Al Khatib, Ms Cheng Peng, and Mr Johnson Chun Shun Ko, all appointed on January 23, 2018.
A tip from @brexit_sham identified that one of the new Emerdata Limited directors, Mr Johnson Chun Shun Ko, is a very close business partner of Erik Prince.
Erik Prince is Executive Director and Chairman of Hong Kong listed Frontier Services Group “a leading provider of integrated security, logistics and insurance services for clients operating in frontier markets.”
The Executive Director and Deputy Chairman of Frontier is Mr. Ko Chun Shun, the same Johnson Chun Shun Ko who is a Director of Emerdata with Julian Wheatland and Alexander Nix of Cambridge Analytica. The address for Mr. Johnson Chun Shun Ko in the Emerdata listing is 3901 39 Floor, Far East Finance Centre, 16 Harcourt Road, Admiralty, Hong Kong, the same address as the Hong Kong headquarters for Frontier.
Erik Prince was also named chairman of DVN Holdings, a company controlled by Hong Kong businessman Johnson Ko Chun-shun and state-owned Citic Group. DVN shares surge as former Blackwater owner named chairman
A Forbes profile lists Johnson Ko as #49 of Hong Kong’s 50 richest people, and notes that he is “executive director of boutique investment firm Reorient Group, where he brought in Alibaba’s Jack Ma and other investors in a $350 million deal in August.”
It is not known if Erik Prince has any direct connection to Emerdata Limited or to Julian Wheatland or Alexander Nix or to Cambridge Analytica.
However, writer Ann Marlowe reported in an August 2016 article on Cambridge Analytica that for ten years, until 2015, the largest investor in SCL was U.K. property mogul Vincent Tchenguiz. Marlowe further identified that Tchenguiz had a connection with Paul Manafort’s business partner Dimitry Firtash, as Tchenguiz was an investor in a company called Zander Group, which was part owned by a subsidiary of Firtash’s Group DF. And while Vincent Tchenguiz sold his shares in Cambridge Analytica’s parent SCL Group in 2015, the current SCL chairman Julian Wheatland, was formerly an executive of Tchenguiz’s Consensus Business Group.
Marlowe has also identified that a December 2017 Haaretz article about Erik Prince described his ties to Israeli financier Dorian Barak, who “tried to interest Prince in investing in an African rail project — with the Spanish infrastructure company Eurofinsa — and in a joint investment with the Tehran-born, British-Jewish billionaire Vincent Tchenguiz.”
There is no indication that Prince pursued a deal with Vincent Tchenguiz.
However, through Emerdata Limited, there is a business connection between two top executives of Cambridge Analytica, Julian Wheatland and Alexander Nix, and Erik Prince’s business partner Mr. Ko Chun Shun.
Many questions are raised by this partnership. What is the business purpose of Emerdata Limited? And what is the business relationship between Emerdata Directors Julian Wheatland and Alexander Nix who also head up Cambridge Analytica, and Erik Prince’s business partner, Mr. Ko Chun Shun? And, most interestingly, is there any direct connection between Cambridge Analytica and Erik Prince?
MARCH 21, 2018 UPDATE: On March 16, 2018 Rebekah Anne Mercer and Jennifer Mercer were both appointed as directors.
Ahmad Ashraf Hosny Al Khatib who was appointed director on January 23, 2018, lists his nationality as ‘citizen of Seychelles’. In January 2017 Erik Prince had a meeting in Seychelles with Kirill Dmitriev, the head of a Kremlin-controlled wealth fund (RDIF), George Nader, a Lebanese American businessman, and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, the effective ruler of the Emirates, allegedly to establish a back-channel to the Kremlin.
MARCH 20, UPDATE: Firecrest Technologies Limited was incorporated on March 7, 2018 with Alexander Nix as director and Emerdata Limited as ‘person with significant control.’