Work stops on major schemes as Elliot Lawless says he will fight “completely baseless” fraud allegations

The head of a major residential developer in Liverpool says he will continue to fight to clear his name after it emerged that £200,000 in cash was seized from one of his properties by Merseyside police as part of a fraud investigation.

Elliot Lawless, founder of Elliot Group, was arrested alongside Liverpool council’s director of regeneration, Nick Kavanagh, in the run-up to Christmas on suspicion of carrying out a range of fraud, bribery and corruption offences. Neither man has been charged.

Elliot Group, which has delivered around £1bn of development in Liverpool and Manchester in recent years, announced this week that it had stopped work on two major schemes in Liverpool city centre while Lawless, 32, fights to clear his name.

He was released on police bail after questioning on December 19 and said in a statement yesterday that “a large sum of money” – confirmed by police as £200,000 – was seized from one of his properties.

Lawless said: “At a recent court hearing it was set out that a large sum of money was seized from one of my properties. This money was from various cash businesses that I operate as well as bank deposits and was receipted and properly accounted for.

“I have provided the necessary details to the police and fully expect it to be returned in due course once police finish their enquiries.”

After his arrest last month, Lawless said that he wanted to clear his name quickly following the “completely baseless” allegations.

This week it emerged that his firm had been forced to stop work on the 1,000-bed Aura student housing scheme and Infinity, a 416-apartment, 38-storey tower on Leeds Street. This came after the contractor on both projects, Vermont, raised concerns following the arrests.

Aura had been due to complete in September this year and Infinity in December 2021. Work on Elliot Group’s other five schemes is ongoing.