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The ‘Good Washing Machine’: Gold, God, Politics and Turning Point UK

Katherine Denkinson delves into some of the bizarre connections between right-wing student politics, anti-Drag Queen protestors and allegations of smuggling

Uebert Angel and Rikki Doolan discussed money laundering with undercover reporters from Al Jazeera. Screenshot: Al Jazeera

The ‘Good Washing Machine’Gold, God, Politics & Turning Point UK

Katherine Denkinson delves into some of the bizarre connections between right-wing student politics, anti-Drag Queen protestors and allegations of smuggling

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Last week, an Al Jazeera sting operation revealed that Businessman-cum-Prophet Uebert Angel was involved in smuggling gold out of Zimbabwe. In a video secretly recorded by Al Jazeera reporters, Angel and his right-hand man, British self-styled pastor Rikki Doolan, tell the reporters that they can help them to launder their ‘dirty money’ via Dubai, describing it as a “good washing machine”. 

Mostly unknown outside of his own congregation, Doolan has recently begun to make public appearances alongside the right-wing student organisation Turning Point UK (TPUK). Seemingly a new addition to the group, Byline Times can now reveal that both Doolan and Angel have been involved with TPUK and related organisations since at least 2020.

Resident in the UK for a number of years, Angel is the owner of the Spirit Embassy church as well as a variety of other businesses. An advocate of prosperity theology, which tells followers that God wants them to be wealthy and encourages generous donations to their pastors, Angel currently lives in Flawford Lodge, a £605,000 mansion in Nottinghamshire, which he refers to as ‘Angel View Manor’.  The address is also linked to an early business interest of Angel’s – Car Deals Republic  – which he ran under the modest pseudonym of ‘Greatness King’ before dissolving it in 2018, having never filed any accounts.

Under his own name, Angel is listed on Companies House as director of thirteen other businesses, most of which have been dissolved and either filed no accounts or were listed as dormant companies, with only £100 in the bank at point of dissolution: an interesting discovery given that Angel is claimed to be worth $60 million.

His most recent active business is the media company Apex World News. Formed in 2020, Angel declared on Facebook that it  “will not be used as a tool to undermine our Lord and saviour or promote practices that are not in line with God.” Broadcasting mainly on YouTube, Apex recently interviewed Rikki Dolan at the Honor Oak anti-Drag Queen protest, where he attempted to justify the protest on grounds of ”Christian morals.”

According to an old Facebook account of Doolan, he has been involved with Angel since at least 2014. In August 2020, a cousin of Doolan’s posted his thanks to both Angel and Doolan for helping him to buy his first home. Their involvement with the Turning Point team also appears to have begun around this time, when Doolan was named on the Facebook page of a group called “Reclaim GBNI” as a founding member. 

A relatively small organisation, our investigation has shown ReclaimGBNI to be an aggressively Centrist group, seeking to “Reclaim British culture and the ignored middle ground”.

Jack Ross, fellow co-founder of Reclaim GBNI and current COO of Turning Point UK, is also pictured on their Facebook page “supporting the Trump campaign and building relations with Conservative figures”. These include Candace Owens and Charlie Kirk  –  key figures in Turning Point USA. 

In September 2020, Angel posted on his own Facebook page that he had met with Ross and Doolan at his home to discuss “God, Politics, Apex, Turning point & Reclaim.”

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The impact of TPUK, Reclaim GBNI and other supposed grass-roots movements on right-wing politics has been building steadily for the last three years. Chloe Westley, a former TPUK ambassador, was (until recently) employed as SpAd to Boris Johnson whilst Ethan Thoburn, who featured in Reclaim GBNI videos alongside Doolan and Ross – is a current adviser to MP Andrew Rosindell. 

Ross himself is listed as a research fellow at the Bow Group, whose website states that he has “advised MPs and candidates on political and digital strategy”  and his Facebook page often shows him pictured alongside influential Conservative politicians at Party conferences.

Alice Grant and Calvin Robinson are two other well-known TPUK ambassadors featured in videos with Reclaim GBNI. Grant is a member of the Orthodox Conservative Group – a hard right student organisation, whose tight links to Parliament I revealed last year in VICE World News. Robinson is a GB News presenter and a key figure in the TPUK anti-Drag protest movement,  who has used his show to promote the idea of drag queens as child predators. 

The current CEO of Turning Point UK and organiser of the recent anti-drag queen protests, Nick Tenconi, has also been involved with all of the above and Uebert Angel for some time.

In late 2021, Ross and Doolan posed for photographs with Angel and a group called the “British Friends of Zimbabwe” (BFOZ), whilst Tenconi shared a video on Twitter stating that he was proud to “represent TPUK and the British Friends of Zimbabwe at the Zimbabwe Embassy in London” as their “general secretary”. A Facebook post to the Christian Billionaires Club page shows Ross, Doolan and Angel meeting president Mnangagawa.

Our attempt to investigate the BFOZ proved futile, primarily because the group does not appear to exist outside of the above social media posts. A deep dive into the 33 adults pictured at a meeting to welcome president Mnangagawa showed them to be random members of Angel’s Scottish church community along with their pastor Jordan Banks. Their purpose appears to be encouraging the government to readmit Zimbabwe to the Commonwealth; an unsuccessful ploy which was met with derision on social media as followers immediately recognised members of the church.

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‘We are not Far Right’

When Byline Times asked TPUK whether they were aware that Doolan was involved with gold smuggling and if they knew that the “British Friends of Zimbabwe” weren’t real, we received the following response;  “Turning Point UK has no official relationship with Ambassador Angel, and so we can not comment on any of his activities.”  They also added that “we consent to you publishing this on the condition that you refer to TPUK as a right-wing organisation, we are not far-right and have a multi-faith and multicultural leadership team.” 

Following our request for comment, Doolan replied via an email address with the display name “10 Downing Street Brief” and told us that his work with Turning Point consisted of “one rally protesting against over-sexualisation of children in trans drag performances”. He also told us that Angel  “doesn’t have any relationship with [TPUK] and his main duty is to help his nation which is under sanctions”.

When asked whether any members of TPUK were involved with the gold-selling business, Doolan said “[Angel] has never sold gold and the documentary has no video of him doing it and to my knowledge knows nothing about gold and I don’t run a gold business and never have – it’s a false narrative and fake news from Al Jazeera. Seems somebody wants to control African gold to me and Ambassador Angel’s link to the president makes him their target but their main target is regime change in Zimbabwe.” He added that “The gold mafia doco is fake news edited to fit a false narrative and we will prove it in court.”

Regarding the BFOZ simply being random members of Angel’s congregation, Doolan told us “That’s laughable. For starters – the church has no congregation that huge in Scotland. They have a cell group which is not a church with maybe 10 people and yet those numbers from British friends of Zimbabwe were many. As a matter of fact, Churches of the ministry are considered a congregation when they go past a specific huge number.” 

Pastor Angel has not responded to our request for comment.

Correction: a previous version of this article noted that Jack Ross had started a company Thames Gold registered at the same address as his official Bow Group correspondence address. Mr Ross has assured us this is a coincidence and he has never owned any such company. We apologise to Mr Ross for the confusion.

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