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‘Fresh start’: Bolton law firm at centre of £300,000 council grant row under new ownership

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Former Asons chief executive once boasted that he was on his sixth Lamborghini in four years

Asons’ former chief executive Dr Imran Akram

A Bolton-based personal injury law firm which sparked controversy last year after it was awarded a £300,000 council grant has changed hands.

Asons Solicitors — which was co-founded in 2008 by flamboyant businessman Dr Imran Akram (pictured top) — confirmed in a statement on Friday that it had been snapped up by Coops Law. Revealing that Akram, who was the outfit’s chief executive, had left the firm, the announcement stated that “all employees” would transfer across to its new owners.

An Asons spokesman said:

This is a fresh start for everyone — the employees and the people of Bolton.

It has since emerged that Coops Law is actually the trading name of an alternative business structure (ABS) called Banks Solicitors. According to the Law Society’s online database, the ABS is registered in Bolton and owned by Irfan Akram.

Asons hit headlines last year after it received a £300,000 grant from Bolton Council to support the refurbishment of its new town centre office. The cash — which was dished out as part of the council’s emergency powers procedure — sparked outrage among opposition councillors and members of the public.

At a public town meeting earlier this year, Bolton Council’s chief executive, Margaret Asquith, said:

With a lot of hindsight this probably would have been better if officers had taken this to the next executive member meeting rather than [using] emergency powers.

An independent audit by accountancy firm KPMG into the grant is expected to take place.

In a further twist, it also transpired that Asons — which employed around 85 people — was locked in a dispute with Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs. A note attached to the firm’s accounts revealed that it was currently challenging a £300,000 tax demand and had losses of more than £1 million for the year ending May 2015.

Dr Akram, who is neither a medic nor a lawyer, first appeared on Legal Cheek’s radar in 2014. A keen petrol head, the flash businessman once boasted on Twitter that he was on his sixth Lamborghini in four years.

Legal Cheek understands that Akram — who now appears to have deleted his LinkedIn and Twitter accounts — does not currently own a Lamborghini.

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