The boss of Axiom Ince, the law firm that recently bought both Ince & Co and Plexus Legal out of administration, is under investigation by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) for possible dishonesty.
The regulator said today that it has intervened into the practice of Pragnesh Modhwadia, Axiom Ince’s global chief executive, on the grounds that there was “reason to suspect dishonesty” on his part as well as breaches of other rules.
But it stressed that it has not intervened into the firm of Axiom Ince, “which continues to trade in the ordinary course of business”.
Mr Modhwadia’s practising certificate is automatically suspended as a result of the intervention. Companies House lists him as the only person with significant control of Axiom Ince.
The SRA has also intervened into the practices of two of the other 15 directors of the firm, Shyam Mistry – head of personal injury and medical negligence – and head of property Idnan Liaqat over possible rule breaches.
In a statement, Axiom Ince said: “The SRA have suspended Pragnesh Modhwadia, Idnan Liaqat and Shyam Mistry. The reasons given are failure to comply with accounts rules and the solicitors’ code of conduct and the misappropriation by Pragnesh of very significant sums of money.
“The SRA have confirmed that the firm continues to operate and the directors and partners have taken immediate steps to protect the business, our clients and our employees whose wellbeing remains our priority as we navigate the best and most viable way to proceed.”
What was then called Axiom DWFM was propelled from relative obscurity to big-firm status in April after buying listed firm Ince & Co in a pre-pack sale for £2.2m, which it followed up last month with Plexus, again in a pre-pack, for £1.1m.
AxiomDWFM was created in 2021 through the merger of Axiom Stone and DWFM Beckman. Before the Ince deal, it had 43 partners and offices in central London, three in Greater London, Birmingham, Bristol and Swindon.
Ince & Co is a separate operating entity and managed independently as a separately branded firm.
The renamed group, Axiom Ince, had 359 qualified lawyers and 442 other staff and then added 520 employees and 20 fixed-share partners with the Plexus deal. Its chair is Jonathan Metliss, a well-known City dealmaker.
Companies House records show that six partners resigned as directors in June.