The liquidators of Asons have settled their claim against its successor practice, after alleging that the controversial personal injury law firm was sold at an undervalue.
The Bolton firm’s business was sold to Coops Law Limited for £229,534 on 23 March 2017, the day before Asons was placed into liquidation.
Coops Law Limited was run by Irfan Akram, the brother of Asons’ principal and sole shareholder Kamran Akram.
In the month prior to the sale to Coops, Asons’ work in progress had a value of around £11m. Coops was closed down by the SRA in June 2017.
Last year, the annual progress report from Asons’ joint liquidators said they has notified Coops of a claim over both the alleged sale at an undervalue and a contractual breach of the share purchase agreement for failing to pay the £99,400 premium for Asons’ run-off insurance.
This year’s newly published report said that in return for settling all their claims against Coops, the joint liquidators have accepted 10% of all recovered costs up to £1.5m and 20% of any costs recovered above that amount, after deducting the costs of collection.
By the time the report was submitted on 22 May, £1,244 had been received from Coops.
Asons has no secured or preferential creditors, but HM Revenue & Customs has claimed £1.4m, with trade and expense creditors claiming a further £26.5m – the same figure as last year.
But the report said proofs of debt were still being received “and therefore the total value of admissible unsecured claims has yet to be determined”. Dividend prospects remained “uncertain”.
To date, the liquidators have realised £232,000 in three years, at a cost of £202,000 – made up mostly of their fees (£103,000) and of solicitors Squire Patton Boggs (£95,000).
Asons boss Kamran Akram was suspended from practice for 18 months in July 2018. In February 2020, he gave an undertaking not to return to legal practice without the permission of a High Court judge after facing contempt proceedings.
Then in March he was disqualified as a director for seven years because of serial overcharging at Asons, and was separately given a five-year bankruptcy restriction undertaking over the transfer of an expensive car to a family member.
Coops Law was headed by his non-solicitor brother, Irfan Khan Akram, and in April he was sanctioned by the Solicitors Regulation Authority for using the purchase of Asons to “undermine and frustrate” steps taken by the regulator to protect Asons’ clients’ interests and the public interest.
In February 2019, Munir Majid, who was Coops’ head of legal practice and sole lawyer manager, was suspended from practice for six months over the way 6,000 files were transferred from Asons.