Developer Elliot Lawless secures judicial review challenging his arrest

On December 18, 2019, Mr Lawless was arrested by Merseyside Police as part of an ongoing fraud and corruption investigation and was later released on conditional bail. Tony McDonough reports

Elliot Lawless
Elliot Group founder Elliot Lawless

 

Liverpool property developer Elliot Lawless has secured a judicial review challenging his arrest and the search of his home as part of an ongoing fraud and corruption investigation.

On December 18, 2019, Mr Lawless, who last week placed two Liverpool schemes worth £350m into administration, was arrested by Merseyside Police as part of the investigation and a large quantity of cash seized from his home.

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.

Earlier this week, a magistrates court hearing ruled the police would be allowed to keep hold of the cash seized from Mr Lawless’s property, believed to be around £200,000, whole the investigation continued.

However, Mr Lawless confirmed on Tuesday that he had secured an “urgent hearing” in a judicial review challenging his arrest and the search warrants used to enter his home.

He said: “The police action in searching my home and office last December is now the subject of a claim for judicial review which I have brought before the High Court in London. An expedited hearing was ordered last week.

“I am challenging the police execution of search warrants and the whole basis of their case which, as I have said from the outset, is completely without foundation. In view of my claim now before the High Court, it would not be appropriate for me to comment further at the present time.”

Elliot Group’s £250m Infinity residential scheme in Leeds Street, close to the waterfront, and on the £100m Aura student accommodation project on the edge of the city’s Knowledge Quarter, as well as a third £70m scheme – The Residence – in Salford were all placed in administration last week.

Following the administrations on March 13, Mr Lawless said his focus is now on working with the administrator to keep the three projects alive. He added: “It has been a challenge for me dealing with the police investigation, but it’s nothing compared to the fact that hundreds of great workers have lost their jobs and investors’ funds are at risk.”

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