Skip to main content

UK: Muslim millionaire becomes largest donor to Nigel Farage's party

Zia Yusuf, 37, describes himself as a 'British Muslim patriot'
Reform UK leader Nigel Farage (right) and party chairman Richard Tice (left) at a campaign event (AFP)
Reform UK leader Nigel Farage (right) and party chairman Richard Tice (left) at a campaign event (AFP)

A British Muslim millionaire has given Nigel Farage’s Reform UK its largest donation yet, in a move the party’s chairman Richard Tice says “will upset all the wet woke lefties and the establishment”.

Zia Yusuf, who last year banked around £32m after selling Velocity Black, the luxury concierge app he founded, has donated hundreds of thousands of pounds to the party. He says “we have lost control of our borders” and has singled out Reform UK leader Farage as the only person who can fix the UK.

Yusuf, who calls himself a "British Muslim patriot", sold Velocity Black to Capital One, a US bank that in 2021 joined five other creditors in providing a $500,000 loan to Israel’s largest weapons manufacturer, Elbit Systems.

Meanwhile it emerged this week that Diane Cocozza, a 2019 parliamentary candidate for the Brexit Party (Reform UK’s previous name), who was accused of Islamophobia, is now standing again for Reform under a different name - Diane Moore. 

“Britain is home to the warmest, most lovely people in the world,” Yusuf said on Wednesday. “It has welcomed millions of immigrants of all races and faiths.” 

Stay informed with MEE's newsletters

Sign up to get the latest alerts, insights and analysis, starting with Turkey Unpacked


The 37-year-old’s parents migrated to Britain from Sri Lanka in the 1980s and worked in the NHS. He was born in Scotland and attended the fee-paying Hampton School in Middlesex on a 50 percent scholarship. 

"My parents came here legally," Yusuf told The Telegraph. "When I talk to my friends they are as affronted as anyone by illegal Channel crossings, which are an affront to all hard-working British people but not least the migrants who played by the rules and came legally."

He worked as an investment banker for Goldman Sachs before quitting to set up Velocity Black.

Yusuf was a Conservative Party member until recently, when he left because of his belief that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak cannot “credibly govern”. 

He said on Wednesday he is supporting Reform UK because British values are “worth protecting”.

“Millions gave their lives in the World Wars to do so, including hundreds of thousands of Muslims.”

Nigel Farage said on Wednesday that Yusuf “will be a great asset and media performer during this campaign and beyond”. 

Reform UK Nazi controversy

Reform UK has been at the centre of a number of controversies since the election campaign began.

This week, parliamentary candidate Jack Aaron defended social media posts in which he had said Adolf Hitler was "brilliant" at inspiring people into action and that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is "gentle by nature".

Last week, after it emerged that another candidate, Ian Gribbin, said Britain should have “taken Hitler up on his offer of neutrality”, the party’s spokesperson defended the comments as “probably true” - although leader Farage called Gribbin “blooming stupid”.

Gribbin also said women should be denied healthcare. He has since apologised for the comments.

Meanwhile, Farage said he was unable to deselect candidate Steve Chilcott because his “name is on the ballot paper”, after it emerged that Chilcott said “Islam and Nazis are the same thing” in 2017.

Asked about the candidate on LBC, Farage replied: “Never heard of him.” 

British far-right and pro-Israel activists are fighting the Palestinian movement together
Read More »

“They are ordinary people. That’s how people out there speak,” Farage said. “That’s how they feel. People are allowed to have opinions. People are allowed to express views.” 

The former UKIP leader is one of the country’s most influential and controversial politicians.

Although he has stood unsuccessfully to be an MP seven times and has never had a seat in parliament, polling this week suggested that Farage is on track to win his seat in Clacton, Essex, on 4 July with the “biggest swing in modern history”. He has vowed to be a “bloody nuisance” if elected. 

Over the past decade, Farage has made a series of comments that have resulted in accusations of Islamophobia. 

In 2013, he said some Muslims are “coming here to take us over”. In 2015, he declared that some Muslims want to become “a fifth column and kill us”. In May, Farage asked how many Palestinian refugees would back Hamas.

The Reform UK leader also asserted that young Muslims do not share “British values” during the election campaign, and insisted there are streets in Oldham “where no one speaks English”. That claim is contested. 

Middle East Eye delivers independent and unrivalled coverage and analysis of the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. To learn more about republishing this content and the associated fees, please fill out this form. More about MEE can be found here.