Aura Hotel Elliot Group
Aura was one of Lawless's projects to be placed into administration

Lawless responds to insolvency probe 

Dan Whelan

The Insolvency Service is investigating the Liverpool-based developer after he placed several schemes into administration following his arrest on suspicion of fraud in 2019 and subsequent release. 

Elliot Lawless, founder of Elliot Group, said he is working with the government department to conclude the process “as quickly as possible”. 

“It is very common for the Insolvency Service to carry out investigations of this nature when companies enter into administration,” Lawless said.

The developer placed Aura, a student accommodation scheme in Islington; the 38-storey Infinity tower on Leeds Street in Liverpool, and Salford’s 34-storey the Residence, into administration in December 2019 following his arrest as part of Operation Aloft. This is Merseyside Police’s ongoing investigation into alleged corruption in the award by Liverpool City Council of building and development contracts across the city.

Lawless was not charged by Merseyside Police and denies any wrongdoing. Last April, the High Court ruled that a police search of Lawless’ home shortly before his arrest was unlawful. The police agreed to settle the claim while continuing its investigation. 

However, the Insolvency Service, which can take action against company directors, including disqualifying them from holding directorships, is now investigating the Elliot Group-owned vehicles that were delivering the aforementioned schemes. 

“I and my professional team are currently in the course of providing the Insolvency Service with all information requested so that the process can be concluded as quickly as possible,” Lawless added. 

The ownership of Aura has been transferred to the project’s investors, while similar deals for the Residence and Infinity are being worked up. 

Earlier this year, administrators were appointed to push through the sale of the developer’s £70m Norfolk Street Hotel & Residence scheme after a deal for investors to take over the stalled project fell through. 

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We struggle as a city in maximising what Liverpool can achieve architecturally. This investigation is just another stumbling block.

By Shaunmichael Mackin