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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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15 Comments

Rumpus

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(2)(1)

Janoy Cresva

Too incompetent to live the “CEO 10k a day lifestyle bby”.

(7)(0)

What comes around...

Has anyone ever has the (dis)pleasure of working for “Asonz”?

Is any reader of LC one of the qualified solicitors in the litigation team that walked out due to not wanting to risk being struck off for litigation the claims…

Answers on a postcard please…

(17)(0)

Anonymous

Parasitic organisation and people. I hope the brothers Akram are soon banned from going anywhere near a law firm.

(21)(1)

Embittered BPTC grad

I am filled with relief to see this reported. I worked at the company as a fresh graduate for 3 months too long. I saw this coming 3 years ago. No I’m not even paralegalling.

#Justice

(8)(1)

Embittered BPTC grad

I am filled with relief to see this reported. I worked at the company as a fresh graduate for 3 months too long. I saw this coming 3 years ago. Now I’m no longer paralegalling.

#Justice

(2)(2)

Namechangingshapeshifter

You saw what coming? That Asons would get a grant of £300,00 from Bolton, then cease trading and morph into “Coops Law” (previously named Banks Solicitors Ltd and originally named Barclays ABS Ltd)?

Coops? Barclays? These are not liable to cause any confusion, are they?

You have to wonder what due diligence Bolton Council did (and what representations were made to it) before it agreed to grant Asons £300,000.

(9)(0)

Nick G

I have done Business with Imran for a number of years. see all of you are forgetting he brought a lot of employment to Bolton. he still has around 160 staff when many firms have gone bust. all this controversy has lead to Asons name being tarnished and consequently forced him to do what he has done. as for Bolton council giving him £300,000- i have seen his re location costs and they far outdo £300,000- and which company would not accept this kind of free help…!!! if they are going to be any job losses, this will be all your fault. thanks Bolton

(3)(20)

Anonymous

And who do we think this is?

(5)(0)

Anonymous

No, this happened because he owed creditors hundreds of thousands of pounds and it was easier to just phoenix the organisation under a different name.

It is also widely understood that his treatment of his staff was abhorrent:

https://www.glassdoor.co.uk/Reviews/Asons-Solicitors-Reviews-E687158.htm

Your suggestion that he is the saviour of Bolton is farcical.

(3)(0)

Anonymous

Mr Akram is now on every website leaving positive comments! On Bolton News, he is leaving comments under the name Chrome. This entire debacle should have ended a long time ago. Just because you employ people does not allow you to bring the profession into disrepute!

(5)(1)

Anonymous

It has now been reported that the grant has been repaid in full, Bolton having threatened proceedings following the cessation of Asons.

(0)(0)

J

Imran is a good businessman. In the business world some of his deals are outstanding and respectable.

However he is not a lawyer and never respected that the SRA’s code of conduct restricts some of the business deals within the context of a law firm that otherwise are perfectly normal in the business world.

This was always going to happen as Imran can get too confident which can appear reckless.

Also none of the senior management team really had any serious experience of management so they routinely fell short.

Finally some of the practices employed inside were undesirable.

Imran has always courted attention and now he’s got it.

(1)(1)

Anonymous

Asonsf

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Feel sorry for all the legally qualified people who ended up having no choice but to work here due to too many people now doing law degrees and / or hoping to get into law, hope they are not tarnished.

(0)(0)

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