Far-right activist Tommy Robinson described himself as a “paperwork disaster” when questioned about his finances in the High Court.
He spent £100,000 on gambling before filing for bankruptcy, he claims.
Robinson, who founded the English Defense League (EDL), told the court he owed HM Revenue and Customs £160,000 but later said that was an estimate.
The court appearance comes after Robinson failed to pay legal fees of £43,293.
Answering questions this afternoon, he said he had spent around £100,000 on gambling – mostly at casinos – in a two-year period before declaring bankruptcy.
“I sold a property, received the money and spent it,” he said.
When asked if his numbers were “accurate,” Robinson replied, “I’ve always been a mess with paperwork and finances.”
After questions about his tax returns, Robinson told the High Court he had not contacted his accountant or HMRC ahead of Thursday’s hearing.
He was also questioned about a claim he made in his book Enemy Of The State that when EDL was formed in 2009 there were seven properties in his or his then-wife’s name.
Robinson said, “I had a ghostwriter who helped me with the book. I like to give the impression that I’m a successful man, even when I’m not.”
He later seemed to accept that there were no seven properties, shrugging when asked if the book wasn’t true and saying he wrote the book years ago.
Robinson later told the court he previously received a salary working for Canadian website Rebel Media and now works for a website called Urban Scoop.
When asked about the money he’s received from this site, Robinson said, “I haven’t received any money lately because they don’t have any, I think they’re borrowing money.”
The questions about his finances come after he lost a defamation case brought by a Syrian teenager.
Robinson, real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, was sued by Jamal Hijazi after the then 15-year-old was attacked at Almondbury Community School in Huddersfield in October 2018.
Shortly after a video of the incident went viral, Robinson claimed in two Facebook videos that Mr Hijazi was “not innocent and is violently assaulting young English girls at his school”.
In the clips, which have been viewed by nearly a million people, Robinson, 39, also claimed Mr Hijazi “beaten a girl black and blue” and “threatened to stab” another boy at his school – allegations that have been circulating proved wrong last summer.
Following a pre-trial hearing in the defamation case in November 2020, Robinson was ordered to pay £43,293 in legal costs.
However, after the sum was not paid, Mr Hijazi’s lawyers successfully applied for an injunction ordering Robinson to return to court to answer questions about his finances.
The EDL founder was unable to appear in court to be questioned in March 2022 but did show up for a hearing in London today to answer questions.
At a hearing last month, Robinson told the High Court he missed the March hearing because of mental health problems caused by harassment.
And today he said he also suffered a nervous breakdown prior to his bankruptcy, telling the court, “I was a mess, a total mess, a total mess, suffering from PTSD.”
He also said he’s had trouble getting a bank account and now uses an online company, which he declined to name.
“I got shut down by NatWest, I got shut down by HSBC… Lloyds shut me down too.”
Following Mr Hijazi’s successful defamation action, Mr Justice Nicklin Robinson ordered him to pay him £100,000 in damages and his legal fees.
Court costs were estimated at around £500,000.
After failing to attend the hearing in March, Robinson now has to go back to court in August to rule on whether he committed contempt of court.
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https://metro.co.uk/2022/06/09/tommy-robinson-spent-100000-gambling-before-declaring-bankruptcy-16801861/ Tommy Robinson 'spent £100,000 on gambling before filing for bankruptcy'