Men arrested in £18m Brighton Council fraud inquiry

Brighton Pavilion
Image caption Brighton and Hove City Council began an internal investigation into the award of £18m of housing contracts

Four men have been arrested over allegations of the improper awarding of more than £18m of Brighton Council housing contracts to a firm providing temporary shelter for homeless people.

It follows a probe into the awarding of contracts to a property management firm by the council over the past 10 years.

Six properties in Essex, London and Sussex were searched by police.

The men, who were held on Wednesday on suspicion of misconduct and corruption, were later bailed until October.

The arrested men were taken to Brighton to be questioned following the searches, which were conducted by officers from Sussex and Surrey Police.

Computers seized

Two of those held were from Essex. A 51-year-old man was arrested at an address in Balfour Road, Ilford, while a 67-year-old man was arrested at a property in Ashvale Drive, Upminster.

A 53-year-old man was held at a house in Elms Road, Clapham, south London, while 57-year-old man was arrested at an address in Harlands Road, Haywards Heath in West Sussex.

Properties in Holland Road, Hove, and in Queens Road, Brighton, were also searched by police.

Computers and documents seized from the six properties are being examined by police.

The arrests follow an investigation by the Sussex Police economic crime unit which began in November 2013 after initial work by Brighton and Hove City Council's internal audit team.

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