County Hall leader elect Geoff Driver has been released on bail after being arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and intimidating witnesses.
Three other top local government figures – two of them former Lancashire County Council chief executives – have also been freed pending further investigations. All four must report again to police on June 19.
Police say the men were held for several hours in Skelmersdale before being released on Monday night.
The arrests came three days before Coun Driver is due to stand for election as the new leader of Lancashire County Council.
So far there has been no word on whether the Tory group leader will persevere with his bid for the authority’s top job at tomorrow’s full council meeting or stand aside while the police investigation is concluded.
The Conservative group officers met in emergency session on Monday night after news of the arrests hit the media.
Last night Coun Michael Green from Leyland said: “At the end of the day Coun Driver is the elected leader of our group and on Thursday I fully expect him to be elected as leader of the county council.”
Lancashire County Council has said there is nothing in its constitution to stop Coun Driver from going for the top job.
The other men arrested on Monday were ex-Lancashire County Council chief exec Phil Halsall, Liverpool chief exec Ged Fitzgerald – who has previously held the same role at County Hall – and former One Connect Limited boss David McElhinney.