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Police extend bail again for arrested chief and leader

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Bail has been extended for the city council chief executive and county council leader arrested in connection with a long-running police probe into two council joint ventures with BT.

Liverpool City Council chief executive Ged Fitzgerald and Lancashire CC leader Geoff Driver (Con), along with the county’s former chief executive Phil Halsall and David McElhinney, who headed Liverpool Direct and Lancashire joint venture One Direct, were all arrested in May but released on police bail.

The investigation is into the two defunct companies and the four men were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and witness intimidation. None of them have been charged.

Having answered bail yesterday (23 August), a Lancashire Constabulary spokesman told LGC bail had now been extended for all four men until 22 November.

LGC previously reported how Mr Fitzgerald has voluntarily stepped aside from his role “until certain investigations are complete”. However Cllr Driver (Con) was elected Lancashire’s new leader after the arrests were made.

Mr Halsall left Lancashire CC in autumn 2013 by mutual agreement after an incoming Labour administration raised concerns about a One Connect contract. Mr Halsall was executive director of resources at Liverpool until joining Lancashire in 2010.

Mr McElhinney’s involvement in the joint ventures ended in 2015 when it was understood he received a £400,000 payoff.

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