After years in the wilderness and countless leadership changes, UKIP are hoping that Freddy Vachha might be their saviour.

Who is Freddy Vachha? Yesterday, UKIP posted a strange video of their new leader giving a rambling speech by the statue of Winston Churchill in Westminster. But who is this dashing new figure on the scene, and where has he been all our lives? Thankfully, he’s previously uploaded a lengthy CV which answers that question – and raises a thousand more

His CV is, on the face of it, impressive. But a little digging beneath the surfaces raises significant questions.

Vachha’s CV states that he was the “Chairman and Managing Director of the UK division of Florensis, a large multinational horticultural group” between 2009 and 2016. But no record of this appointment can be found online. HOPE not hate spoke to two people who worked with Mr Vachha during this period, and both stated that his role was related to managing the payroll for the company, rather than serving as Chairman and Managing Director. While Vachha was indeed listed as an officer for a small company called Hamer Flower Seeds Ltd (dissolved in 2016) that appears to have some connection to Florensis, this cannot by any means be described as the UK division of Florensis, of which far larger UK subsidiaries were operating throughout that period.

Some of his listed activities are more jaw-dropping than impressive, such as the admission that he used automated software to lobby against “Necon/Trotskyists” in backwoods Michigan during the 2008 US Presidential Election, a piece of foreign election interference that seems like an odd thing to boast about:

As well as a sparkling career, Vachha boasts some incredible educational achievements. He claims to have scored 175+ in two supervised IQ tests, a score higher than that estimated for Steven Hawking or Albert Einstein and which only a few thousand people on earth could claim. He also claims to have received record scores in the entry exams for Princeton University, leading to offers of a postgraduate courses at MIT, Harvard and Stanford. But he declined due to a ‘career switch’, opting instead for a Diploma in Accounting at the City of London Polytechnic.

His hobbies and interests section should be read in its entirety, to get a flavour of the man. His campaigning against “shariafication” and “Common Purpose infiltration” suggest he won’t be overhauling UKIP’s twin platforms of Islamophobia and conspiracy theory, but his interest in “refuting of cunning propaganda spread by Neo-Nazi / Holocaust Denial movements” does at least suggest that his stated interest in ‘Nazi Germany’ might not be as sinister as some have suggested.

For a more detailed look at this CV, we can recommend the YouTube channel ‘A Sunday Videographer’, the owner of which appears to be an ardent supporter of Vachha and has uploaded 13 (!) videos in the past three weeks in which he elaborates on the CV at some length, including the revelation that Vachha has “has oftentimes been likened to Confucius”. He also lauds the work of the ‘Freddy Vachha Foundation’, a non-profit organisation that has apparently been active for fifteen years but has never once been referenced on the internet outside of this channel.

We strongly suspect that other aspects of this CV might come under question in the weeks ahead…