Peter Thiel's super secret start-up under scrutiny by New Zealand lawmakers, report says


Billionaire Peter Thiel's ties to New Zealand are drawing more attention — this time, in that country's intelligence community.

Thiel's data crunching start-up Palantir counts the New Zealand Defence Force, the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service, and the New Zealand Government Communications and Security Bureau among its clients, the New Zealand Herald on Thursday.

CNBC reached out to Palantir for comment.

Peter Thiel
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Co-founder Thiel — who was granted New Zealand citizenship in June 2011 under exceptional circumstances — had promised to devote "significant" time and resources to New Zealand. But Palantir's support of these agencies has stoked debate in parliament, the Herald reported.

In particular, a Green Party spokesman called to delay the New Zealand Intelligence and Security Bill, citing the "potentially huge" connection with Palantir, the Herald reported. (The Green Party said last year they would oppose the bill because of concerns over illegal "spying on New Zealanders for the past nine years.")

Government work is business as usual for the start-up. Palantir received about $83 million from the U.S. government this year, and according to Bloomberg, it also works with government agencies across Europe.

But Thiel, known for co-founding PayPal, is a lightning rod. He's one of the few technology executives to vocally support Donald Trump. And Palantir may be tied to a controversial system to investigate undocumented immigrants in the U.S.

For more on the story, see the report at the New Zealand Herald.

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