Tommy Robinson blew £100,000 on gambling, he tells High Court as he faces £600,000 bill for losing libel case brought against him by Syrian teenager over bullying video
- Tommy Robinson blew £100,000 on gambling, he told the High Court yesterday
- He faces £600,000 bill after losing libel case brought against him by Syrian teen
- He told the court that he spent around £100,000 gambling — mostly in casinos
Tommy Robinson blew £100,000 on gambling, he has told the High Court as he faces £600,000 bill for the losing libel case brought against him by a Syrian teenager over a bullying video.
Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, was sued by Jamal Hijazi after the then 15-year-old was assaulted at Almondbury Community School in Huddersfield in October 2018.
He told the court yesterday that in a two-year period prior to declaring bankruptcy, he spent around £100,000 on gambling — largely in casinos.
‘I sold a property, received the money and I spent it,’ he said.
At another point, Robinson claimed he owed £160,000 to HM Revenue and Customs but later said this was an estimate.
He told the court that he spent money on ‘drink, alcohol, partying’ — all while receiving thousands in supporter donations.
The English Defence League (EDL) founder was also questioned over claims that he and his ex-wife owned seven properties.
Tommy Robinson has been questioned about his finances at the High Court after he lost a libel case brought by a Syrian teenager. Pictured leaving the Royal Courts Of Justice in London on June 9
Shortly after the video of the bullying incident went viral, Robinson claimed in two Facebook videos that Mr Hijazi was ‘not innocent and he violently attacks young English girls in his school’.
In the clips, viewed by nearly a million people, 39-year-old Robinson also claimed Mr Hijazi ‘beat a girl black and blue’ and ‘threatened to stab’ another boy at his school – allegations found to be false last summer.
After a pre-trial hearing in the libel 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 order requiring Robinson to return to court to answer questions about his finances.
Robinson failed to attend court to be questioned in March 2022 but appeared at a hearing in London on Thursday to answer questions about his finances.
‘You don’t know, you don’t care. You’re putting numbers here and you don’t know if they’re accurate,’ Mr Hijazi’s barrister Ian Helme suggested.
Robinson blew £100,000 on gambling, he tells the High Court as he faces a £600,000 bill. Pictured leaving the Royal Courts Of Justice in London on June 9
Robinson later said: ‘I’ve always been a disaster with paperwork and finance from day dot.’
After questions about his tax returns, Robinson told the High Court that he had not contacted either his accountant or HMRC prior to Thursday’s hearing.
He said that in 2020, he received around £1,000 a month from supporter donations, with it occasionally reaching £3,000 to £4,000.
Discussing his accountant, Robinson said: ‘He’s not my best mate, I owe him money…I haven’t spoken to him.’
He was also quizzed over a claim he made in his book Enemy Of The State that when the EDL was founded in 2009, there were seven properties in his or his then-wife’s name.
The English Defence League (EDL) founder was also questioned in court over claims that he and his ex-wife owned seven properties. Pictured outside the court on May 6
Robinson said: ‘I had a ghost-writer that helped me with the book. I like to give off the impression that I’m a successful man even when I’m not.’
He later appeared to accept that there were not seven properties, shrugging when asked if the book was untrue and saying he had written the book years ago.
Later, Robinson told the court he previously received a salary while working for Canadian site Rebel Media and now works for a website called Urban Scoop.
Asked about the money he received from this site, Robinson said: ‘You want the truth? I haven’t received any money recently because they have not got any, I think they are borrowing money.’
At a hearing last month, Robinson told the High Court he had missed the March hearing because of mental health issues caused by being harassed.
Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, was sued by Jamal Hijazi (pictured) after the then 15-year-old was assaulted at Almondbury Community School in Huddersfield in October 2018
A video showing Jamal Hijazi, 16, being pushed to the ground and ‘waterboarded’ in the playground at his school in Huddersfield was shared nationwide
On Thursday, he said he had also suffered a mental 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 had struggled to get a bank account and now used an online company he refused to name.
‘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, Mr Justice Nicklin ordered Robinson to pay him damages of £100,000 and his legal costs.
Mr Hijazi’s legal costs were thought to be around £500,000.
After failing to attend the hearing in March, Robinson will now have to return to court again in August to decide whether he had committed a contempt of court.
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