Here (Was Once) a Photo of Cambridge Analytica’s CEO With the Russian Ambassador to the UK

One of these men boasted of blackmailing politicians. The other is Putin’s representative.

Update, 3/22/18: The photographer, Tony Ramirez, has asked us to remove the photo of Alexander Nix and Alexander Yakovenko, the Russian ambassador to the United Kingdom. We have done so. The photo is now password-protected on the photographer’s website.

Original story: Alexander Nix, the CEO of Cambridge Analytica, made splashy headlines this week when Britain’s Channel 4 News broadcast undercover video of Nix and a colleague boasting that their firm entraps politicians through sting operations using fake businessmen offering bribes and covert seduction schemes involving Ukrainian women. Nix’s company, which is best known for its work with Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, has also been in the news for sneakily acquiring data on as many as 50 million Facebook users for its own secretive purposes. Cambridge Analytica denied wrongdoing in the Channel 4 investigation. But the hidden-camera video was quite damning.

The footage, though, was a bit grainy. So here is a clearer shot of Nix, snapped during a polo match in which he played on July 28, 2016. He happens to be posing with Alexander Yakovenko, the Russian ambassador to the United Kingdom. The photo was taken days after Democratic National Committee files and emails hacked by Russian intelligence were dumped online by WikiLeaks at the start of the Democratic Party’s convention. The previous month, the Trump campaign had hired Nix’s company, and by this point, it had been widely reported that Russian intelligence was behind the DNC hack.

The photograph was part of a series of snaps on a website presenting polo photos for purchase.

Journalists, researchers, and congressional investigators have wondered about any ties between Cambridge Analytica and Russia. This photo is hardly evidence of an untoward connection. But last year a Huffington Post article on Robert and Rebekah Mercer, the super-wealthy, right-wing backers of Cambridge Analytica, did note that Rebekah, at one meeting with Nix, was highly impressed by Nix’s polo skills, gushing about his prowess and asking him to show cellphone photos of himself on horseback.

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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