The millionaire running Cambridge Analytics was once engaged to the Queen’s cousin and has been nicknamed the ‘007 of big data’ for his work influencing minds around the globe.
Old Etonian ‘smoothie’ Nigel Oakes, 55, is one of the company’s four original founders who have links to royalty, the Tory party and the world’s most rich and powerful figures.
Mr Oakes was Lady Helen Windsor’s boyfriend in the 1980s and the couple are said to have appalled Her Majesty when Mr Oakes was caught being smuggled into St James’s Palace.
After they split Mr Oakes is said to have gate-crashed her 21st birthday party at Windsor Castle in 1985 only to be ejected by staff and was arrested for driving without insurance as the 700-guest party was in full swing.
Mr Oakes, now 55, started work running a mobile disco called ‘Traitor’ before working for advertising giants Saatchi and Saatchi before starting his own business with expertise in ‘behavioural influence’.
Old Etonian ‘smoothie’ Nigel Oakes, 55, was Lady Helen Windsor’s boyfriend (pictured in 1985) and offended the Queen after Lady Helen smuggled him into St James’ Palace
Mr Oakes (left) met Alexander Nix after returning to London after working in Indonesia and they founded their company in 2005. Mr Nix, pictured last night, has being suspended after the Channel 4 investigation
Polo champion Alexander Nix (far left) had worked as a financier in Mexico before moving into the data business
Experts have described him as a ‘mysterious Etonian-smoothie’ whose access to personal data made him Donald Trump’s ‘weapon of mass persuasion’ during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Describing his work in a marketing journal 1992 he said: ‘We use the same techniques as Aristotle and Hitler. We appeal to people on an emotional level to get them to agree on a functional level’.
In 2000 he left Indonesia under a cloud after being accused of being involved in ‘psychological warfare’ on behalf of President Abdurrahman Wahid to help rescue his reputation the country.
He later admitted to the Sunday Times that the incident ended up looking like ‘something out of James Bond’.
After returning to London he began working with Alexander Nix, the under fire boss of Cambridge Analytica suspended last night.
They formed CA’s parent company SCL Group in 2005 with Nigel’s younger brother Alexander Oakes and Rollo Gabb, son of wine pioneer Roger Gabb.
Mr Nix is a well known polo lover whose outgoing nature and charm has persuaded clients have spent small fortunes with Cambridge Analytica.
His success has helped turning Nix into a seriously rich man feted by the tech industry.
The 42-year-old, who spoke alongside Facebook chiefs at last year’s ‘Online Marketing Rockstars’ conference in Hamburg, keeps his Savile Row suits at a vast home in London’s Holland Park, which he and his girlfriend, Norwegian shipping heiress Caroline Paus, bought for £4.5million in February 2012.
Mr Nix, left at a polo event, is one of four original founders alongside wine millionaire Rollo Gabb
Cambridge Analytica is under fire over the Facebook scandal and Mr Nix (pictured on a poster stuck to its HQ) has admitted they will now lose a lot of money
He is said to have bragged about worked on 40 political campaigns in every corner of the world.
But the data firm suspended Mr Nix last night after recordings emerged of him making a series of controversial claims, including boasts that CA had a pivotal role in the election of Mr Trump.
The CA board said that Mr Nix had been suspended ‘with immediate effect, pending a full, independent investigation’.
It said comments by Mr Nix recorded in secret filming by Channel 4 News and ‘other allegations’ did not represent ‘the values or operations of the firm’ and that his suspension ‘reflects the seriousness with which we view this violation’.
His company Cambridge Analytica was bankrolled to the tune of $15billion by US hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer, a major Republican donor.
The Observer said it was headed at the time by Steve Bannon, a top Trump adviser until he was fired last summer.
Fellow director Rollo Gabb, 45, is the son of Roger Gabb, a wine millionaire who founded the Western Wines distribution company.
Footage emerged of a meeting in which Mr Nix appears to suggest that CA could compromise politicians by sending ‘beautiful’ Ukrainian women to candidates’ house
Storage crates were removed from Cambridge Analytica’s London headquarters (pictured) but it is not yet known who has ordered them to be taken away
In the early 2000s one in every 12 bottles of wine bought in the UK was sold via his business in supermarkets or on the high street.
His father donated £500,000 to the Tories in 2006 and is a well known Brexit supporter who signed a 5,000-signature strong letter to the Daily Telegraph with Mr Nix saying a vote to Leave will be good for British business.
Mr Gabb is an expert in fine wine, supplying it to chefs including Gordon Ramsay, and has also helped set up the FINO, Barrafina and Quo Vadis restaurants in London.
He also appears to have some eccentric ideas.
In 2013 he was commissioned a 60ft trebuchet that hurled a car, a church organ and a giant petrol bomb to raise money for a church in Shropshire.
The novel idea came from Mr Gabb who said he wanted a catapult ever since he saw the medieval weapon being used 20 years ago.
Other shareholders include Lord Marland, a former Tory treasurer and trade envoy to David Cameron and Geoffrey Pattie. a former defence minister under Mrs Thatcher.
Its advisers also include a former rear admiral and an ex-Army colonel.