| 12.7°C Belfast

Ex-Trump adviser Michael Flynn linked to data mining firm Cambridge Analytica


Michael Flynn was forced out of his role as US national security adviser in February (AP)

Michael Flynn was forced out of his role as US national security adviser in February (AP)

Michael Flynn was forced out of his role as US national security adviser in February (AP)

A British firm connected to the data mining and analysis company Cambridge Analytica has said former national security adviser Michael Flynn was in talks about taking an advisory role less than a week before the US election day.

SCL Group said in a statement to The Associated Press that Mr Flynn signed a "statement of work" with the company on November 2 2016, about "possible advisory work". Mr Flynn did not take the position after USW President Donald Trump's victory and Mr Flynn's subsequent appointment as the top national security aide.

The statement came just days after Mr Flynn disclosed his interactions with the firm in an amended public financial disclosure filed with the White House. The AP reported the contents of the filing last week. The White House has since released it publicly in response to an AP reporter's request.

On the disclosure, Mr Flynn lists briefly serving as an adviser to a Virginia-based entity of SCL Group, which is the British parent company of Cambridge Analytica, the firm that worked with Mr Trump's campaign.

Wealthy Republican donor Robert Mercer, a hedge fund manager who also supported the Trump campaign, is a financial backer of Cambridge Analytica. The president's chief strategist, Steve Bannon, was also a vice president at the company before he joined the Trump campaign.

Congressional Democrats and Mr Trump's critics have singled out Cambridge Analytica as they have pressured congressional committees to scrutinise the Trump campaign's data operation as part of probes into Russia's interference in the 2016 election and any possible collusion with Trump associates.

Trump campaign officials have denied any connection with Russia. They have also downplayed Cambridge Analytica's role in the campaign, saying they used the company briefly for television advertising and paid some of the company's employees.

The AP reported last week that Mr Flynn ultimately performed no work for SCL Group and was not paid. A person close to Mr Flynn told the AP last week that Mr Flynn had agreed to the advisory role just before the end of the campaign but the details of the position were never fully determined.

SCL Group confirmed it did not pay Mr Flynn, and he did not perform any work. It said Mr Flynn signed the statement of work but "no contract agreement was signed" and the advisory role was never formalised. In response to questions, SCL Group declined to say the nature of the planned advisory role or share the signed statement of work.

Mr Flynn's filing of his amended financial disclosure came as special counsel Robert Mueller and congressional committees are scrutinising his business deals and foreign connections.

Mr Flynn was forced out of his national security post in February for misleading the US vice president about conversations he had with the then-Russian ambassador to the US.