The Bolton-based firm at the centre of a row over a local government grant has changed hands. In a statement this afternoon the firm said: ‘As of today, Asons Solicitors has ceased trading. All employees have been TUPE'd to Coops Law and there will be no job losses. We can confirm that Dr Imran Akram [former chief executive] has left the business.

‘The new employers will honour the terms and conditions of the grant awarded by Bolton Council.'

An Asons spokesperson said: 'This is a fresh start for everyone – the employees and the people of Bolton.'

Coops Law is thought to be owned by Irfan Akram. Asons’ previous owners were Imran and Kamran Akram. 

Asons, based in the Churchgate area of the city, was awarded a £300,000 grant last year under Bolton council’s emergency powers procedure. This procedure allows the authority to take ‘any action on behalf of the council in any cases of urgency’.

The firm’s accounts show a dispute with the tax authorities also quantified at £300,000 and a loss of more than £1m for the year to May 2015. There is no evidence linking the £300,000 dispute referred to in the accounts with the same sum handed to Asons for the building development work.

An independent audit by accountancy KPMG into the grant is expected.