UK: Man bought private jet with borrowed council money

A businessman cheated a council out of tens of millions of pounds and went on a spending spree with the cash, an investigation has discovered.

Leaked documents reveal how Liam Kavanagh used Thurrock Council’s money to buy luxury goods, including a yacht and a private jet.

The council has been made effectively bankrupt after investing £655m in Mr Kavanagh’s solar farm business.

Mr Kavanagh’s lawyers say all the payments were permissible.

They say they were approved by his company’s finance team and auditor.

Thurrock is one of a number of councils that have got into financial difficulties since the coalition government gave local authorities more freedom to raise funds and invest in 2011.

Woking, Slough and Croydon have all been forced to stop all non-essential spending after losing public money on risky investments.

By 2018, Thurrock had already invested more than half a billion pounds in Mr Kavanagh’s business.

The inflated valuations convinced the council to invest a further £130m – but the money never reached the solar farms.

Leaked documents from Rockfire reveal how Mr Kavanagh spent council money on himself instead.

A ledger of payments shows £12m went to a company that bought Liam Kavanagh’s private jet.

There are also payments totalling £2m for his Bugatti Chiron car and £16m for his yacht Heureka.

A further £40m disappears into a bank account labelled “other”.

An email Mr Kavanagh sent in 2020 suggests he always planned to spend council cash on himself. It says: “These funds… will be used to create a new family investment office and to create wealth for years to come. This has always been my plan.”

Mr Kavanagh is no longer living in the UK.






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