Security Police in the loop over Trump-linked firm pushing ethnic division

Take note – story published 7 years ago

The Latvian Security Police says it is looking into a report produced by a political consultancy which recommended increasing ethnic tensions between Latvians and Russians.

A report by Bloomberg suggests that a division of Cambridge Analytica, which gained fame by helping U.S. President Donald Trump get elected last fall, had been hired two of Latvia's so-called 'oligarchs', Ainars Slesers and Andris Skele back in 2010.

The firm says it’s able to use its “psychographic data models” to sway undecided voters by targeting people’s social media profiles and serving up messages and ads based on their perceived biases.

As previously reported by LSM, the advice given appeared to be ineffective as Slesers and Skele's party slumped at the polls. However, it is unclear at this point to whom a 2006 recommendation to concentrate on ethic division was delivered.

The London-based SCL Group, which in the U.S. is known as Cambridge Analytica, has provided consultations to four election campaigns in countries on four continents, including Latvia.

In Latvia, SCL said it ran a campaign in 2006 designed to stoke tensions between Latvians and ethnic Russian residents, the article highlights.

SCL’s website says it advised the Latvian candidate Ainars Slesers and his running mate, Andris Skele, in 2010, running a massive pre-election campaign. While their party alliance, For a Good Latvia, won eight seats in parliament, it never joined the governing coalition, and both were ousted from parliament when that Saeima was dismissed by former President Valdis Zatlers.

The Security Police will use the above information in its further investigations, it told LETA.

There is no information over whether a formal investigation has been started.

The Security Police - Latvia's interior police force - is tasked with probing crimes involving incitement to ethnic or national hatred.

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