Tommy Robinson: how much did EDL founder lose gambling, is he bankrupt, and why is he in court?

Tommy Robinson leaves the Royal Courts Of Justice in London. He is to give evidence about his finances after he lost a libel case brought by a Syrian teenager Jamal Hijazi. Picture date: Thursday June 9, 2022. (Pic: PA)Tommy Robinson leaves the Royal Courts Of Justice in London. He is to give evidence about his finances after he lost a libel case brought by a Syrian teenager Jamal Hijazi. Picture date: Thursday June 9, 2022. (Pic: PA)
Tommy Robinson leaves the Royal Courts Of Justice in London. He is to give evidence about his finances after he lost a libel case brought by a Syrian teenager Jamal Hijazi. Picture date: Thursday June 9, 2022. (Pic: PA) | PA
The English Defence League founder was questioned on his finances in court after losing a previous libel case

The High Court heard that far-right activist Tommy Robinson had spent £100,000 gambling before he declared bankruptcy.

Robinson, real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, appeared in court after failing to pay sums of money from a previous hearing, leading to queries surrounding his finances.

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The English Defence League founder was expected to pay a fee of nearly £45,000 from a court order made in 2020, but when the sum was not paid, Robinson’s gambling and debt problems were called into question.

Among other debts, the 39-year-old is expected to pay back around £600,000 since losing the claim, in damages and legal costs.

How much did the EDL founder lose gambling?

Tommy Robinson appeared at the Royal Courts of Justice in London and explained he was struggling to pay damages due to wasting money on partying and gambling.

The activist claims to have a gambling addiction after he spent nearly £100,000 gambling in casinos and online, while collecting donations from his supporters.

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For example, in 2020, Robinson said he received £1000 a month from the supporters, and at times he could rake in between £3000-4000.

When appearing in court, Robinson described how he had wasted money on alcohol and partying, while he suffered a “total mental breakdown for two or three years,” before declaring bankruptcy.

Is the political activist Tommy Robinson bankrupt?

Robinson was due to appear in court in March 2022 in connection to some unpaid legal bills, which he failed to attend, a year after declaring bankruptcy.

However, at a hearing last month Robinson told the High Court he had missed the hearing because of his mental health issues caused by being harassed, in addition to a breakdown prior to his bankruptcy.

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On Thursday, the court heard that Robinson owed hundreds of thousands of pounds when he declared himself bankrupt last year.

On top of the £100,000 he lost through gambling and the legal costs, Robinson owed a debt of £323,000 to Bedfordshire businessman Christopher Johnson as well as an estimated £160,000 to HM Revenue and Customs.

Speaking about the build up to the declaration last March, he said he was a “total mess…I owe a lot of money [and I] can’t get out of it.”

Why is Tommy Robinson in court?

Robinson has appeared in court after he lost a libel case brought by a Syrian teenager in 2018.

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He was successfully sued by Jamal Hijazi after the then 15-year-old was assaulted at Almondbury Community School in Huddersfield, with Robinson declaring in two Facebook videos that Mr Hijazi was “not innocent and violently attacked young English girls in his school,” shortly afterwards.

The allegations put forward by Robinson online reached nearly a million people, but were proven to be false and he was ordered to pay £43,293 in legal costs.

Mr Hijazi’s lawyers successfully applied for an order requiring Robinson to answer for his finances after the costs were not paid.

After failing to attend the March hearing, Robinson is due to attend another in August where it will be decided if he was in contempt of court.

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