Nick Kavanagh and Elliot Lawless
Nik Kavanagh, left, and Elliot Lawless

Council director and developer arrested on suspicion of fraud

Jessica Middleton-Pugh

Developer Elliot Lawless and Nick Kavanagh, Liverpool City Council’s head of regeneration, were arrested on Wednesday “as part of an ongoing fraud investigation” and were released on bail this morning.

Merseyside Police said in a statement: “A 32-year-old man from Liverpool city centre has been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud, bribery and corruption.

“Whilst a 50-year-old man, employed by Liverpool City Council, has been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud and misconduct in public office.”

The police confirmed this morning the men had been released on conditional bail. Neither have been charged.

Lawless said: “This is a frustrating turn of events as we are extremely busy delivering major schemes across the North. I’m helping the police fully with their enquiries and am more than happy to do so. It is important that I clear my good name quickly and that we move on from this.

“The allegations are completely baseless but due process needs to be followed and whilst the police do their work I’ll not comment further on the issue.

“In the meantime, it’s business as usual. I have seven live schemes in Liverpool to deliver and am back at my desk doing just that.”

Lawless is founder of developer Elliot Group, and Nick Kavanagh is director of regeneration and employment at Liverpool City Council.

Kavanagh joined the council in 2010, and was appointed director in 2011.

Since the recession, Elliot Group has emerged as a prolific developer of residential properties in Liverpool. The company also has a scheme on site in Salford.

Elliot projects include the £170m redevelopment of Heap’s Rice Mill, the £100m Wolstenholme Square, the £100m Aura student scheme on the edge of the Knowledge Quarter, and the 1,000-apartment Infinity on Leeds Street. The developer’s sole project in Salford is the 34-storey The Residence at Greengate which is due to complete next year.

Liverpool City Council said: “The council does not comment on individual staff members.”

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