LONDON: An independent insolvency expert has been hired to recover an estimated £2 million ($2.72 million) owed by British far-right figure Tommy Robinson, before a looming deadline in March.
Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, is the founder and former leader of the English Defence League. In July last year, he was ordered by a judge to pay £100,000 to Syrian refugee Jamal Hijazi after he falsely accused the teenager of assaulting female classmates. In addition to the damages, he owes lawyers £1.5 million in legal costs, plus interest.
Hijazi, now 18, fled Homs in Syria and was living in northern England in October 2018 when he was filmed being attacked and bullied at a school in the town of Huddersfield. When the footage went viral, Robinson produced two videos in which he falsely stated that the Syrian teenager was “not innocent and he violently attacks young English girls in his school.”
A libel case was brought against him and last July the High Court in London found his claims to be untrue and awarded damages to Hijazi.
Robinson also owes money to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, a former business partner and the local council in Barrow-In-Furness in North West England.
The anti-fascist activist group Hope not Hate believes the EDL founder might have access to as much as £3 million in assets, including property, investments, donations and money from book sales, as well as a home in Bedfordshire belonging to his former wife that is estimated to be worth £1.2 million.
The group is running a fundraising campaign to cover the costs of the independent insolvency expert, Heath Sinclair of Richard Long & Co., hired to recover the money.
Robinson declared bankruptcy in March last year. Sinclair has until March 3, when Robinson will exit bankruptcy, to find any assets or cash he might be hiding. After then it could become more difficult to recover the money he owes.