The founder of Liverpool-based property developer Elliot Group said he has obtained a judicial review of his arrest before Christmas on suspicions of fraud, and a subsequent police search of his home.
“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,” Elliot Lawless said in a statement to media today.
Lawless was arrested on 18 December along with Nick Kavanagh, head of regeneration at Liverpool City Council. Both were released on bail and no charges were brought, although a police investigation ensued.
At the time of his arrest, Liverpool police seized £200,000 from a property belonging to Lawless and were permitted to keep the haul following a magistrate’s court hearing of their application to retain the assets while an investigation was ongoing.
Lawless’ statement today said: “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.” He did not provide a date for the judicial review hearing.
Elliot Group is involved in around 20 residential developments across the North West, mainly in Liverpool.
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 scheme Infinity on Leeds Street.
The developer also has a project in Greater Manchester – the 34-storey The Residence at Greengate in Salford. Construction has stalled on these last three amid the police investigation.
Last week, Elliot called in administrators for the three of the schemes – thought to be Aura, Infinity and The Residence – after failing to raise the necessary funding to keep them operational.
Investors claim to have hundreds of thousands of pounds tied up in the stalled schemes and are pressing to recover their monies.