Tommy Robinson Spent £100,000 Gambling Before Declaring Himself Bankrupt
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The English Defence League founder, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, was sued by Jamal Hijazi after comments made online, following an assault on the then-15-year-old at Almondbury Community School in Huddersfield in October 2018.
After footage of the incident went viral, Robinson claimed Hijazi was ‘not innocent’, alleging that ‘he violently attacks young English girls in his school’.
Robinson also claimed Hijazi ‘beat a girl black and blue’ and ‘threatened to stab’ another boy at his school.
The allegations were found to be false last summer and, at a pre-trial hearing in the libel case in November 2020, Robinson was ordered to pay £43,293 in legal costs.
However, when the sum was not paid, Hijazi’s lawyers successfully applied for an order requiring the 39-year-old to return to court to answer questions about his finances.
Appearing at the High Court earlier this week, 9 June, Robinson explained how he spent around £100,000 on gambling – mostly in casinos – in a two-year period prior to declaring bankruptcy.
“I sold a property, received the money and I spent it,” he said.
Robinson also claimed he owed £160,000 to HM Revenue and Customs, but later said this was an estimate.
Hijazi’s barrister Ian Helme told him: “You don’t know, you don’t care. You’re putting numbers here and you don’t know if they’re accurate.”
Robinson said: “I’ve always been a disaster with paperwork and finance from day dot.”
He went on to tell the court he had not contacted either his accountant or HMRC before Thursday’s hearing.
Robinson said of his accountant: “He’s not my best mate, I owe him money… I haven’t spoken to him.”
The far-right activist had initially failed to attend court to be questioned back in March, saying this week that he had suffered a mental breakdown.
“I was a mess, a total mess, a total mess suffering from PTSD," he said.
He also said he struggled to get a bank account, and now used an online company that he declined to name, adding: “I’ve been closed by NatWest, I’ve been closed by HSBC… Lloyds closed me down as well."
Following Mr Hijazi’s successful libel claim, Robinson was ordered to pay him damages of £100,000, along with his legal costs – thought to be around £500,000, The Independent reports.
After failing to attend the hearing in March, he will now have to return to court in August to decide whether he had committed a contempt of court.