Police arrest senior council figures

Four senior local government figures including leader of Lancashire and chief executive of Liverpool have been bailed by Lancashire Police until 19 June following arrests on Monday in connection with a long-running investigation into alleged irregularities relating to contract awards.

The four men arrested yesterday were Ged Fitzgerald, chief executive of Liverpool City Council and former chief of Lancashire County Council; Geoff Driver, former leader and set to return to the top of Lancashire County Council following the Conservative Party’s victory earlier this month; Phil Halsall, formerly finance chief of Liverpool City Council and ex-chief executive of Lancashire County Council; and David McElhinney, who was chief executive of One Connect and Liverpool Direct, the joint ventures established to run contracts between the councils and BT.

The men were arrested and detained on suspicion of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and witness intimidation.

A spokesman for Lancashire Police said: “The arrests are part of a wider long-running investigation into allegations of fraud although none of the men have been arrested today on suspicion of fraud.”

The men will reappear at police stations on 19 June when they will either be charged, released or bailed again.

Lancashire Police launched an investigation in 2013, which has been ongoing ever since and has cost more than £2m to date.

A spokesperson for BT said the company was assisting police with their investigation.

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