Stephen Christopher Yaxley-Lennon, better known as Tommy Robinson, has vehemently denied claims he spent money from supporters on ‘coke, parties and prostitutes’, according to the Independent.
The British right-wing, anti-Islam activist, who co-founded the English Defence League, (EDL) which he led from 2009 until 8 October 2013, has been accused by a former colleague, Caolan Robertson, of allegedly withdrawing large sums of money from crowdfunding pages to cover the costs of his diverse ‘‘nefarious activities’, such as drug taking.
Robertson, a video producer who ran an online fundraising campaign for Robinson in 2018, claims he personally witnessed the activist transfer the donated money into his business account.
As donations started to stream in, with almost £425,000 collected in just three months, Caolan Robertson, 26, says the coffers were empty when he requested money for new equipment.
“I ran the online crowdfunder for him going independent in mid-2018. In three months he raised over £400,000,” Caolan was cited as saying.
I'm glad I took the time to get this story out in a fact-checked, verifiable way. This is now on the record. "Tommy" spent thousands of supporters' £££ on drugs, prostitutes and luxury cars. He's a liar and a cheat and I'm glad to finally be able to prove it. https://t.co/rOOGOaZXcs— Caolan (@CaolanRob) March 17, 2021
He added that his employer, when questioned about the disappeared money, said he had “mates I’ve got to pay back” for “seshes”.
“We realised that he was withdrawing huge amounts of [donations] in cash from a business bank account, and just giving it to his friends who were selling him coke and who he owed for nights out,” Caolan Robertson was quoted as saying, adding:
“That wasn’t what we signed up for when we told our supporters that we needed it for kit, expenses, transport, security and staff costs.”
According to Robertson, when drunk, the activist who unsuccessfully campaigned to be elected to the European Parliament in 2019,would boast that he was “f***ing loaded” and making “mad money”.
Robinson, a self-styled journalist who recently declared himself bankrupt, has strongly denied misusing funds and claims he has never used coke or prostitues, in a statement to the outlet.
“These operations have included costs of travel, accommodation, film and editing crew and social media activity… We have also made donations to the families of child victims of grooming, for example at Christmas,” he said.
He also claimed that funds have been spent on security, “after I have been attacked or my family threatened”.
Earlier in March, Tommy Robinson told the High Court he "can't afford a lawyer" and will represent himself in a libel trial against a Syrian teenager.
In a video that sparked an outcry when posted on social media in 2018, Jamal Hijazi was filmed as he was attacked in a school playground in Huddersfield.
Robinson made controversial claims about the teenager in two Facebook videos of his own, saying the then-16-year-old student "violently attacks young English girls in his school".
Meanwhile, according to financial documents cited by the outlet, Robinson received a huge scale of funding since announcing “going independent” in 2018.
In little over two months, he ostensibly received almost £425,000 in donations from supporters.
An even larger amount was purportedly raised after Robinson was jailed for contempt of court in May 2018, when Robinson filming a live stream outside Leeds Crown Court in breach of reporting restrictions.
A US think tank - the Middle East Forum – is cited as having claimed it helped to fund Robinson’s legal team as well as organise three “Free Tommy” rallies.