James Lewis, the former head of The Lewises property company which has been the subject of a global investigation, has left his position.
Mr Lewis was the first to be suspended by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) over the company’s links to the “unlawful enrichment” of the Iranian regime, which has used it as a front for money laundering and arms trafficking.
The decision to remove Mr Lewis from the role is the latest blow to a business which has suffered financially and is also in the process of being taken over by a family that has also been embroiled in legal proceedings.
It comes just weeks after the Department’s head, Richard Mawson, resigned after admitting a “mistake” in his handling of the inquiry into The Lews’ company, which led to its suspension.
The BIS had earlier told The Independent that it would look into Mr Lewis’s role.
“We would consider the appointment of a successor,” a spokesman for the department said.
“However, it would not be appropriate to comment further until the appointment is made.”
James Lewis was suspended in December 2016, and subsequently stood down.
The BBC reported that Mr Lewis was removed from his role as a director of The Lews and given a two-year notice to stand down.
But The Lwises’ lawyers claimed the former director was removed because he had “neglected his duties” and had “not done enough” in the investigation.
The inquiry was launched by the British Government and was chaired by Sir Anthony Bamford, a former MI6 director, who had previously been an executive at Barclays, Lloyds Banking Group and Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Mr Bamford has been a vocal critic of the British government’s handling of terrorism.
The investigation, which involved former MI5 and security service agents, began when Mr Lewis met Mr Lewis in 2013, when he was working for a private security firm.
He was later paid $15m by The Leewis family to work on the company, in which he is the chairman.
But it was revealed that he had also been involved in a $US20m scam involving The Leews.
The report concluded that he was in a position to “undermine the integrity of the investigation and the public confidence in the BIS and the conduct of BIS”.
The BBC was unable to reach Mr Lewis for comment.
The government has previously acknowledged that it has a number of internal reviews into Mr Mawson’s handling, including the investigation into the Lews.
The Lewists, who are also involved in the sale of the Westfield shopping centre in Melbourne’s north-west, have repeatedly denied wrongdoing.
They have also rejected the claims of the report.