Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson has been arrested in connection with an investigation into building and planning developments in the city, Sky News understands.
He is one of five men arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit bribery and witness intimidation offences.
None have been charged or named by Merseyside Police, with the force releasing the following details:
- A 72-year-old man, from Aigburth, on suspicion of witness intimidation
- A 62-year-old man, from Old Swan on suspicion of conspiracy to commit bribery and witness intimidation
- A 46-year-old man, from Ainsdale, on suspicion of conspiracy to commit bribery and witness intimidation
- A 33-year-old man, from West Derby, on suspicion of conspiracy to commit bribery and witness intimidation
- A 25-year-old man, from, Ormskirk, on suspicion of witness intimidation
Sky News understands the 62-year-old is Mr Anderson, the city’s directly-elected Labour mayor.
Merseyside Police said detectives made the arrests on Friday as “part of an ongoing investigation”.
“Those arrested have been taken to police stations across Merseyside where they will be questioned by detectives,” added a statement from the force.
A Liverpool City Council spokesperson said: “Liverpool City Council is co-operating with Merseyside Police in relation to its ongoing investigation. We do not comment on matters relating to individuals.”
Mr Anderson has been at the forefront of Liverpool‘s response to the coronavirus pandemic, with the government having held the city up as an example of how areas can emerge from the toughest level of its tiered restrictions.
Liverpool was in Tier 3 before November’s lockdown, but is now in Tier 2 after the stricter measures and the rollout of mass testing helped numbers get back under control.