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US Justice Department and FBI probing Cambridge Analytica

Justice Department officials have interviewed a former employee of the marketing analytics firm, says NYT

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This is the building in London which houses the offices of Cambridge Analytica, the firm embroiled in the Facebook data scandal. The company is filing for bankruptcy in Britain and the US.

Washington

THE US Justice Department and the FBI are investigating Cambridge Analytica (CA), the British marketing analytics firm embroiled in the Facebook data scandal, and have questioned potential witnesses, The New York Times reported on Tuesday.

CA has vehemently denied exploiting data obtained from up to 87 million Facebook users for Donald Trump's presidential campaign, claiming it deleted data obtained in breach of the social network's terms of service.

The company announced early this month that it was closing and would file for bankruptcy in Britain and the United States, saying it had been "vilified" by the "numerous unfounded accusations". US investors have sought to speak with banks that have handled the company's business, the Times said, citing an American official and others familiar with the investigation as saying that the probe appears to focus on CA's finances and how it obtained and used personal data from Facebook.

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One of the prosecutors involved in the inquiry is Brian Kidd, assistant chief of the Justice Department's securities and financial fraud division; he has the help of at least one agent who investigates cyber crime for the FBI.

Mr Kidd travelled to London with another Justice Department prosecutor and an AFP agent this month to interview ex-CA employee Christopher Wylie, said the Times.

Mr Wylie told the newspaper: "I can confirm that I've been contacted by the FBI and the Department of Justice, and answered preliminary questions. We plan to meet again to provide substantive answers to the investigators."

The Times said it was unclear whether the probe was linked to the one led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to tip the presidential election toward the Republican.