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MEDIA BRIEFING 9TH JUNE 2022: Tommy Robinson back in court facing questions about his finances

09 06 22

Background

  • On 3rd March 2021, Tommy Robinson declared himself bankrupt and unable to pay his debts. He went on to lose a libel case brought against him by Jamal Hijazi, a young Syrian refugee who Robinson publicly smeared in 2018, wrongly portraying him as a violent thug. Although a High Court judge ordered Robinson to pay Jamal £100,000 in damages and his legal costs, he has not seen a penny.
  • In his own book, Robinson explained that he placed assets in his wife’s name as “Those old credit problems of mine made it easier just to do the paperwork through her name.” Among these assets in his wife’s name were six of the seven houses he owned at the time and the Tanning salon that was again in his wife’s name but made clear in his book that he ran.
  • On 20th January 2022, HOPE not hate announced that it is financially supporting creditors seeking to investigate Tommy Robinson’s alleged bankruptcy claim, and that we will be providing evidence to support the investigation into his bankruptcy.

What evidence has HOPE not hate uncovered?

  • A HOPE not hate investigation has identified assets totalling as much as £3 million in property and businesses linked to Lennon, including an enormous house in Bedfordshire. You can find more information here.
  • On 10th February 2022, HOPE not hate delivered a 200-page dossier to the Insolvency Practitioner, setting out the evidence that we believe shows Tommy Robinson’s claim of bankruptcy is a fraud, designed simply to avoid paying Jamal Hijazi the damages and legal fees that were awarded against him last year.
  • On 1st June 2022, HOPE not hate revealed that Tommy Robinson has created a media operation that is bringing in tens of thousands of pounds every month, making him the wealthiest ever far-right activist in the UK. While Robinson claims he is simply an employee of Urban Scoop, an independent media company, HOPE not hate exclusively revealed that he controls the day-to-day running of the operation. He is effectively a ‘silent director’, something that was illegal while he was bankrupt. More information here.

How has the case developed so far?

Timeline:

  • 22nd March – Tommy Robinson is called to a high court hearing to be questioned about his finances by Jamal Hijazi’s lawyers.
  • 6th May – Tommy Robinson attends court, but claims he did not attend his initial hearing because of mental health issues. His lawyer claims he will be able to provide medical evidence.
  • 25th May – Hearing at the Royal Court of Justice regarding costs of missing court. Robinson claimed he was unable to attend the initial hearing due to ‘mental health issues’.
  • 9th June – Robinson to return to Royal Courts of Justice to face questioning about his finances by Jamal Hijazi’s lawyers. A separate contempt of court hearing regarding Robinson’s missed court date will also take place on this day.

Outcomes: If Tommy Robinson stands by his bankruptcy in the High Court then he risks being caught lying as evidence gets placed in front of the judge. If that happens, or indeed if he is forced to admit the statements he gave to the Official Receiver are not correct, then he could find himself prosecuted for making a fraudulent bankruptcy claim. If Robinson is found to be in contempt of court and cannot prove that he missed the initial hearing due to ‘mental health reasons’, he is at risk of going to prison.

What does an Independent Insolvency Expert do and why have they been appointed?

Only the Official Receiver can overturn a bankruptcy and recover hidden assets, but of course the Official Receiver’s office is under-staffed and under-resourced. This is why the creditors, the people who Robinson owes money to, have formally requested that an independent insolvency expert is brought in to take over the official investigation. This insolvency expert has the power to undertake a forensic examination of Robinson’s finances. They also have access to company records and bank accounts, and be able to interview people under caution.

We worked with creditors to trigger a clause in the Bankruptcy Act which transfers the investigation from the Official Receiver’s office to Independent Insolvency Expert which meant a more thorough investigation, using our evidence, has been launched into the validity of Lennon’s bankruptcy.
To accomplish this, we launched a crowdfunder to cover the costs of under-writing the investigation and associated legal costs.

Comment from HOPE not hate

Nick Lowles, Chief Executive of HOPE not hate, the UK’s leading antifascism campaign group, said, “We are hopeful that today will mark a key moment in our campaign to prove that Tommy Robinson has been hiding millions of pounds in assets while cowering under a fraudulent bankruptcy, leaving Jamal Hijazi and his family waiting years for justice.

“Tommy Robinson is the best paid far right extremist we have ever come across, with our findings suggesting he has at least £3 million in assets. Unsatisfied with the wealth he has accumulated from conning his supporters, he has chosen to continue spewing his vitriol, and spread his hateful message against any minorities on his radar.

“While whatever justice is served may come far too late, it is time that Jamal Hijazi, a young teenage boy that Tommy Robinson felt empowered to bully, sees Robinson become accountable for his crimes.”

Relevant Links:

https://hopenothate.org.uk/2022/01/24/bankrupt-tommy-robinsons-million-pound-house/

https://hopenothate.org.uk/2022/02/10/the-best-paid-far-right-extremist-weve-ever-come-across-our-hunt-for-tommy-robinsons-hidden-millions/

https://hopenothate.org.uk/2022/06/01/lennons-filthy-lucre/

https://hopenothate.org.uk/2022/03/07/tommy-robinson-joins-the-far-right-for-britain-party/

https://hopenothate.org.uk/2022/03/17/tommy-robinson-putins-useful-idiot/

https://hopenothate.org.uk/2022/05/06/a-crisis-of-his-own-making-tommy-robinson-back-in-court/

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