Elliot Group founder Elliot Lawless and senior Liverpool City Council official Nick Kavanagh were arrested in December as part of a fraud investigation and later released on bail. Tony McDonough reports
Liverpool property developer Elliot Lawless, arrested in December as part of a fraud and corruption investigation, is no longer on police bail following a court ruling.
In a boost to the Elliot Group founder’s stated bid to prove his innocence, a request by Merseyside Police to extend the bail was refused without a hearing and Mr Lawless is now free to continue with his business interests.
Mr Lawless, was arrested by Merseyside Police on December 18, 2019, as part of an ongoing fraud and corruption investigation. Nick Kavanagh, director of regeneration and employment at Liverpool City Council, was arrested on the same day as part of the same investigation.
Both men were later released on conditional bail. No charges have been brought and the investigation remains live. It is believed, following the latest written court ruling, that Mr Kavanagh is also no longer on bail.
“I have maintained from the outset that the allegations put to me were baseless and this ruling is an important step along the road to proving that point conclusively,” said Mr Lawless.
Mr Lawless’s lawyers have also secured an early judicial review in the High Court in London challenging his arrest and the search warrants used to enter his home. A date for a hearing will be fixed within the next 10 days once the period granted to the police to respond ends.
Last week two of Elliot Group’s biggest Liverpool developments, and a third in Salford, were placed into administration. Paul Cooper and David Rubin of David Rubin & Partners have been appointed as Joint Administrators of the £250m Infinity scheme close to Liverpool’s waterfront, and the £100m Aura student accommodation project close to the Knowledge Quarter. They also took over the running of a £70m Salford project.
Paul Cooper said: “I am optimistic that David Rubin & Partners will be able to implement a rapid process to ensure these developments are able to be completed, providing both state-of-the-art student and residential accommodation.”
They have now appointed property agents Lambert Smith Hampton and Pantera Properties, who will be responsible for the marketing and sale of all three developments.