Financial Strategies of Right-Wing Extremist Organizations and Actors in the United Kingdom and Germany

September 19, 2023
Alexander Ritzmann  —  CEP Senior Advisor

In June 2023, CEP published a study that outlines and analyzes the financial strategies and activities of key right-wing extremist (RWE) organizations and actors in the United Kingdom and in Germany. The United Kingdom and Germany see violent right-wing extremism and terrorism as a major threat to public safety and minority groups. Right-wing extremism often operates in the grey zone between legal and illegal as well as violent and non-violent activities. Political violence, and terrorism in particular, do not exist in a vacuum and require financial resources. Understanding causal and contributing factors as well as the roles of allegedly legally operating key extremist actors is essential for effectively preventing and combating political violence and terrorism.

A connecting and essential component in both countries are entrepreneurs or key actors of extremism. This refers to RWE individuals or groups that have already been holding key roles in leadership, propaganda, recruiting, and financing for a prolonged period. They are often experienced and avoid direct calls for violence or publicly visible command positions in violence-oriented groups. These key actors of extremism rather facilitate and steer events such as Rechtsrock/Rock against Communism (RAC) music events or political activities. They promote narratives of “white victimhood” and “self-defense” and are therefore essential to the milieus that breed RWE violence.

The research focused on legal as well as (potentially) illegal financial activities of those key actors with systemic relevance to the U.K.’s and Germany’s RWE milieus. While the identified financial RWE strategies and activities in the U.K. and Germany appear legal at first sight, the seemly deliberate opaqueness of almost all of them indicates a high likelihood of systematic tax evasion as well as violations of transparency and reporting requirements. Some of these financial strategies do generate significant amounts of income, as shown in another CEP report on RWE financing patterns and networks in Germany. A significant portion of the generated funds are in cash.

Some of the main findings of the report are that RWE key actors in the U.K. have shown a curious pattern of registering and dissolving limited companies (LCs) as well as the use of more innovative online pay-per-engagement/influencer-audience type crowdfunding strategies. Some German RWEs associated with the Reichsbürger movement have been using the U.K.’s LCs as a tool to generate significant earnings in Germany.

In Germany, it is quite possible that due to increasingly effective government and civil society interventions formerly lucrative “old school” income streams like RAC concerts and sales of merchandise could dry out. In such a case, key actors of the German RWE milieus could adopt some of the more innovative financial strategies from RWEs in the U.K.

Since RWE key actors are openly opposing and challenging the authority of the U.K. and the German government, CEP suggested investigations by law enforcement and tax authorities into illegal activities, such as tax evasion or money laundering. These could present an opportunity for the effective disruption of extremist funding, propaganda, and recruiting strategies.

The diversity and innovative strategies of key RWE actors in the U.K. and Germany require an equally broad range of risk mitigating measures and a government financial disruption strategy that target key RWE actors, which could have immediate disruptive effects that could slow down or hinder the financial, propaganda, and recruitment efforts of key RWE stakeholders in both countries.

Daily Dose

Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.


On May 8, 2019, Taliban insurgents detonated an explosive-laden vehicle and then broke into American NGO Counterpart International’s offices in Kabul. At least seven people were killed and 24 were injured.

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