Gateshead serviced apartments “unaffected” by fraud investigation

George Sell George Sell Uploaded 13 January 2020

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UK: A 20-storey hotel and serviced apartment project in Gateshead is set to go ahead despite a fraud investigation in to one of the developer’s other projects.

Ward councillor for the area John Eagle said it was “good news as the project was vital for the town”. The proposed 202-bedroom four-star hotel with 244 serviced apartments in Gateshead is intended to serve the new arena and leisure development. It was granted planning permission in November 2019.

Elliot Lawless of the project’s developer Elliot Group was arrested before Christmas, and work on two of the company’s projects in Liverpool has been suspended. Merseyside Police have seized £200,000 in cash from the Elliott Group, which is behind 20 developments in north-west England.

Lawless, 32, who has been questioned by officers, says the money was properly accounted for. Nick Kavanagh, head of regeneration at Liverpool City Council, has also been questioned. Lawless was held on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud, bribery and corruption while Kavanagh was held on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud and misconduct in public office. Neither has been charged with any offence and both have been released on bail.

Work on all the company’s other projects, including the Gateshead development, is going ahead. In a statement, Lawless said: "It is important that I clear my good name quickly and that we move on from this. The allegations are completely baseless.”

 

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