Socialist Worker

Exposed: racist EDL’s secret wealthy backers

by Tash Shifrin
Issue No. 2283

EDL thugs march in London (Pic: Smallman )

EDL thugs march in London (Pic: Guy Smallman)

The shadowy network of strategists behind the English Defence League (EDL) ran out of hiding places this week.

“Alan Lake”, the mastermind behind the strategy to unite football hooligan firms into the EDL’s army of anti-Muslim racist thugs, has been exposed as a wealthy investment fund director, really called Alan Ayling.

Ayling was, until January, a director of Pacific Capital Investment Management. Under his “Lake” alias he described Anders Behring Breivik’s Oslo massacre as “chickens coming home to roost”.


At his £500,000 Barbican flat in 2009, the EDL’s founding meeting brought together EDL leader “Tommy Robinson” and the group of vicious anti-Muslim ideologues who call themselves “counterjihadists”.

Also understood to be at the meeting was “Dominique Devaux”, or “Gaia”.

She was named by the Sunday Times as Ann Marchini, a buy-to-let property tycoon who lives in a £1.6 million mansion in Highgate, north London. Marchini is a key player in the European wing of a US organisation, the Center for Vigilant Freedom (CVF, also known as the International Civil Liberties Alliance).

The CVF backs the EDL and helps it link up with far-right and fascist groups in Europe and the US. Its “counterjihad” conferences bring together supporters of Geert Wilders’ Islamophobic populist PVV party in the Netherlands with fascists from Sweden and Belgium—and now the EDL.

The “counterjihadists” steered the alliance between the EDL and the British Freedom Party (BFP) that was announced last month. The BFP is a splinter group formed by former British National Party (BNP) leaders.


The lash-up was finalised at a September “counterjihad” summit that included former UKIP candidate Paul Weston.

He was swiftly installed as BFP chair.

It gives the EDL-BFP the classic two-pronged attack of fascism: a street army and a suit-wearing, electoral wing.

The CVF’s “Devaux” is no stranger to fascism. She was hob-nobbing with Richard Barnbrook months after his election as a BNP London Assembly member.

Ann Marchini’s lawyer has denied she is “Gaia” or “Devaux” but admits she is a BFP member and friend of Weston.

Marchini, with a Highgate address, is on a list of EDL donors leaked last year.

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Article information

Tue 13 Dec 2011, 17:13 GMT
Issue No. 2283
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