Funding Of Far-Right Groups Needs Greater Focus, Report Warns

Donations are the most popular mechanism for far-right extremist fundraising, research finds.

Greater focus is needed on the funding of ‘increasingly connected’ far-right extremists and groups who pose a significant threat, a report has warned.

According to research by the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), published in the think tank’s journal on Friday, recent efforts to identify and disrupt terrorist financing has centred around Islamists.

However, efforts to understand and combat the financing of potentially violent extreme right-wing groups by domestic and cross-border law enforcement are ‘clearly necessary’.

“Despite the significant threats posed by extreme right-wing groups and, specifically, extreme right-wing terrorism in the UK, Europe and the US, it would appear that very limited focus is applied to the funding of these groups and individuals,” the report states.

It adds that ‘evidence of international links between right-wing groups and actors is increasingly emerging’ and how far-right terrorist and extremist groups are connected.

The report highlights how they are sharing and emulating best practices, which “may include financial methodologies and the transferring of funds”.

According to RUSI, the funding of banned neo-Nazi group National Action has become reliant on “more discrete peer-to-peer transactions such as PayPal or bank transfers”.

Despite disagreements among experts on the role of foreign funding in the financing of the group, the report adds that “given the prevalence of related extreme right-wing groups across Europe, it is reasonable to assume some level of international connectivity”.

In contrast, Tommy Robinson - also known as Stephen Yaxley-Lennon - is a “more mainstream” right-wing figure who has a “multitude of larger and sometimes well-known donors”, the research states.

This includes “bankrolling rallies” and high-profile campaigns, including one for his release from prison, the report adds.

The Independent

It also notes how Robinson has been removed from Facebook, had his PayPal account shut down in November last year, with restrictions also introduced on his YouTube content by the video platform.

“Donations are the most popular mechanism for far-right extremist fundraising,” according to the report.

“Donations can be solicited in a number of ways, but typically follow three main forms: internet-based crowdfunding campaigns; sourced openly from deep-pocketed sympathetic donors; and via more discrete peer-to-peer transactions.”

The research highlights how peer-to-peer donations can “range from cheques to bank transfers to cryptocurrency”.

Neo-Nazi groups Blood and Honour as well as Combat 18 often indicate supporters must contact them directly for payment details and only accept UK bank transfers, according to the report.

This shows “their desire to conceal transactions, avoid cross-border wire transfers, and only allow trusted members to donate”, and that they recognise the “risk posed to their operations from financial disruption”.

“It is clear that the terrorist or extremist right-wing threat in the UK and other Western countries is likely to grow in the years ahead, encouraged by algorithm induced echo-chambers on social media platforms that incite and endorse extremist views,” it adds.

“Today’s low-priority risk could become tomorrow’s high priority threat, and developing a financial analysis and understanding of these groups, their activities and facilitators is imperative as part of an enhanced response.”


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