UK police release men on bail in Liverpool bribery probe

LONDON (AP) — British police said Saturday that five men, one of whom is believed to be the mayor of the northwest English city of Liverpool, have been released on bail after being arrested over allegations of bribery and witness intimidation linked to building contracts.

Joe Anderson, 62, was reportedly detained on Friday and taken to a police station for questioning. The force did not name the men, in keeping with U.K. policy that suspects are not identified until they are charged, but gave their ages as 25, 33, 46, 62 and 72.

Merseyside Police said in a statement Saturday that the five people “arrested in connection with offenses of bribery and witness intimidation as part of an investigation on into building and development contracts in Liverpool have been released on conditional bail pending further inquiries.”

Anderson has been Liverpool’s elected mayor since 2012. He has gained national prominence during the coronavirus pandemic, which has hit Liverpool and other northern cities especially hard, making many media appearances as local authorities across the north battled with the British government over restrictions and financial support.

Liverpool City Council said Friday that it was co-operating with Merseyside Police but added: “We do not comment on matters relating to individuals.”

British media say that Britain’s main opposition Labour Party has suspended Anderson following his arrest.

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