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EDL strategist suspended from City job

By Tash Shifrin
January 31st 2012

A key strategist and funder behind the English Defence League has been suspended from his management post at a major international development bank.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development suspended Alan Ayling after he was named as the EDL founder who uses the alias ‘Alan Lake’.

The powerful bank was set up by international treaty to fund development and privatisation schemes in Eastern Europe and Central Asia following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.


We can reveal that Ayling is the manager in charge of the team that runs the EBRD’s Oracle databases – a post in which he is believed to earn around £70,000 a year, plus bonuses.

He was suspended after his ‘Lake’ identity became public at the end of last year.

‘Lake’ was named in the Sunday Times in December as 57-year-old Alan Ayling, who until January 2011 was a director of City investment fund Pacific Capital Investment Management, which was wound up in August.

He lives in a plush £500,000 flat in London’s prestigious Barbican development.

Well paid

But Ayling has a well paid City job as well as his former company directorship – and his political activity as a key figure in the shadowy network of far-right and Islamophobic groups who call themselves ‘counterjihadists’.

Ayling is no stranger to multiple identities. In 2009, he told a seminar organised by leading members of the fascist Sweden Democrats party:

You’ve got to have pseudonyms, you’ve got to have, you know, five email addresses, one for your friends, one for your counterjihad, one for your really extreme counterjihad comments, and all the rest of it.

As ‘Alan Lake’, Ayling has hosted and spoken at EDL demos. He has admitted funding the EDL, telling Norway’s TV2 channel: ‘I have given some money to help some EDL things happen.’

It was at Ayling’s Barbican flat that the EDL was established in 2009, according to disaffected founder member Paul Ray.

The founding meetings brought together Lake and the counterjihadists together with Ray, Stephen Yaxley Lennon – AKA ‘Tommy Robinson’, the former BNP member who now leads the EDL leader – and his cousin Kevin Carroll.

Breivik inquiry

Ayling has also been interviewed as a witness as part of the Norwegian police investigation into the massacre by fascist gunman Anders Behring Breivik.

Although Ayling/Lake denies having met Breivik, he has admitted meeting the deeply Islamophobic Norwegian blogger ‘Fjordman’ – real name Peder Jensen – who is cited repeatedly in the manifesto issued by Breivik.

‘Alan Lake’ has described Breivik’s massacre of 76 people, mainly members of a socialist youth camp, as chickens ‘come home to roost’ on his 4Freedoms website – remarks that sparked a bust-up with EDL leaders in August.

He has also used the site to issue predictions that the UK would fragment into ‘Islamic enclaves’ in 20 to 30 years’ time and discussed the possibility of executing prime minister David Cameron, his deputy, Nick Clegg, and the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Ayling’s employer, the EBRD, has a sensitive position as an international agency charged with a political remit to encourage democracy as well as privatisation and market development.

The database manager’s suspension comes as the bank takes steps to expand into Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco – all with mainly Muslim populations.

A spokesperson for the bank said:

The EBRD became aware of various allegations made about a member of the bank’s staff in mid December.

The bank immediately launched an investigation into these allegations. The member of staff was suspended from duties pending the outcome of this investigation. The investigation is still ongoing.


Meanwhile, Leeds City Council has suspended Chris Knowles from his post in the children’s services department after he was identified by UAF as ‘Aeneas’, another key “counterjihadist” backer of the EDL.

We revealed Knowles was director of the well funded US-based organisation, the Centre for Vigilant Freedom, which exists to promote Islamophobia internationally.

The CVF operates as the International Civil Liberties Alliance, whose website is run by Knowles in his ‘Aeneas’ guise. Knowles coordinates the CVF/ICLA’s European work from his West Yorkshire base.

Ray names Aeneas/Chris Knowles among the clique who met to set up the EDL. And Knowles has remained an important behind-the-scenes figure and a link between the EDL, the moneyed CVF strategists and other racist and far right groups internationally.

A Leeds City Council spokesperson said the authority was committed to equality and diversity and opposed to all forms of discrimination. She added that allegations against a member of staff were being taken very seriously.

A member of staff has been suspended while we undertake a thorough investigation. If there has been any breach of the council’s policies or code of conduct we will take appropriate action.

Originally published in Unite Against Fascism

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