Bolton law firm hands back controversial £300,000 council grant under threat of legal action

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By Thomas Connelly on

Asons Solicitors ceased trading on Friday after it was purchased by Coops Law

Bolton Council meeting yesterday evening

A Bolton-based personal injury firm has handed back a controversial £300,000 council grant after the local authority threatened to take legal action.

Asons Solicitors — which was founded in 2008 by Dr Imran Akram and Kamran Akram — received a £300,000 grant from Bolton Council last year to help fund the refurbishment of its new town centre office. The financial award, which was dished out under the council’s emergency powers procedures last year, sparked outrage among councillors and members of the public.

Earlier this week Legal Cheek reported that Asons had ceased trading on Friday having been purchased by fellow personal injury outfit Coops Law. Describing the sale as “a fresh start for everyone,” the announcement stated that “all employees” would transfer across to its new owners.

However, Coops Law — which is actually the trading name of alternative business structure (ABS) Banks Solicitors — is owned by Irfan Akram. According to The Bolton News, Ifran is a “family” relation of Imran and Kamran Akram.

Legal Cheek has now learnt that the £300,000 grant has been paid back in full.

Having taken “external legal advice,” council leader Cliff Morris (pictured) confirmed that a notice to terminate the grant was delivered to Asons on Monday and the money had been paid back in full the following day.

Cllr Cliff Morris

In a joint statement, the local authority and Asons said:

A former director of Asons Solicitors, Kamran Akram, contacted the council regarding the grant of £300,000. When he applied for the grant, he had not foreseen the financial situation that Asons now finds itself in. Furthermore it is a great regret to him that Asons, the Bolton firm which he founded, is no longer trading. He offered Bolton Council £300,000, the full sum of the original grant provided to the company and has made this payment via personal means, as he is no longer a director of Asons.

Morris — who faced calls to resign after reports of the grant being awarded hit the press — refused to apologise, arguing that the cash has led to the refurbishment of office accommodation in the town centre and the creation of new jobs.

An independent audit by accountancy firm KPMG into the grant is ongoing. Watch the meeting in full here.

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