Property developer Nigel Russell has been cleared of an alleged £3.6 million investment fraud after prosecutors offered no evidence.
The 56-year-old was accused of providing false documents to a law firm to gain funding for the development of four sites across Liverpool.
He was set to stand after denying four counts of fraud and five counts under the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act 1981.
However, after three days of legal discussions at Liverpool Crown Court, the trial did not open and Julian King, prosecuting, offered no evidence.
Judge Anil Murray said Nigel Russell, of Duddon Road in Tarporley, Cheshire, should be acquitted of all charges on an amended indictment.
Following his acquittal, the developer told the ECHO his name had been wrongly “dragged through the mud” and that “no £3.6 million fraud existed”.
“I informed the police in 2015 in interview and in a prepared statement with supporting evidence that I was not guilty of these crimes and yet they chose to ignore my claims,” he said.
According to the newspaper, the alleged frauds related to three city centre developments, Alexander Terrace in Hatton Garden; 12 Gradwell Street; and the Paper Mill in Henry Street, plus student accommodation at St Joseph’s in Woolton Road, Childwall.
Nigel Russell was accused of arranging for documentation to be forwarded to his solicitors which “purported to show that all appropriate conditions were satisfied relating to development for the purposes of releasing funds, when you knew that they were not.”
The charges alleged that he aimed to “secure the release” of £1,331,400 for Alexander Terrace; £1,319,000 for the Paper Mill; £583,360 for 12 Gradwell Street; and £432,770 for St Joseph’s.
The forgery charges related to the alleged creation of false instruments, namely notices of proposal to grant a House of Multiple Occupation (HMO) licence for each development, alongside a Completion Certificate for Alexander Terrace.
All of the offences were alleged to have taken place between 2012 and 2013.